Dog attacks

If you, or your pet, has been attacked by a dog, or you have witnessed an attack, contact Council immediately on 4044 3044 so we can secure the dog and collect evidence.

If you are the owner of a dog, you are responsible for their actions. Dog attacks are not only frightening for all involved, but often result in serious injury to people. Dog attacks on other animals can also cause serious injury and in some cases result in the death of the animal.

Be proactive

There are simple steps you can take to minimise the risk of your dog attacking a person or other animal.

  • Ensure you have suitable fencing so your dog cannot escape. The majority of dog attacks are committed by wandering dogs
  • Always walk your dog on a lead when in a public place
  • Always supervise children around dogs - particularly if a dog is sleeping, feeding or recovering from injury or illness
  • Train and socialise your dog.

Read more about how you can prevent dog attacks

Reporting

When an attack occurs it is extremely important that you contact Council immediately on 4044 3044 - even outside business hours. Council responds to reports of dog attacks immediately.

Reporting an attack as soon as it occurs ensures we can secure the dog and gather important evidence/information to assist in the investigation.

Any delay in reporting makes it harder for Council to investigate the issue because:

  • Witnesses can't be located
  • The offending dog and dog   owner can't be located
  • The extent of injuries cannot be documented
  • Lack of medical evidence.

How does council respond to a dog attack?

Dog attacks are investigated under the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008.

When a complaint is received:

  • A council officer will speak to the person reporting the attack to explain the complaint process
  • The officer will go to the property where the dog lives to secure the dog and inspect its enclosure
  • The officer will speak to the dog's owner, if they are present. At this point the owner may voluntary surrender the dog or hand it over to Council while an investigation is carried out.
  • If the dog is not voluntary handed to Council, the officer may seize the dog for the length of the investigation
  • Photographs will be taken of any injuries
  • The person reporting the attack and/or the victim of the attack, will be asked to provide:
    • A detailed statement of the incident
    • Any photos of injuries taken by another person
    • Any medical/veterinary reports and receipts.
  • The officer will take down detailed statements from any witnesses
  • If the matter goes to court, the officer will organise a formal interview with the victim and any witnesses. The victim and witnesses may be asked to attend the court hearing.

Penalties

There are significant penalties for allowing your dog to attack a person or other animal.

The owner can be:

  • Fined for breaches of the Local Law
  • Prosecuted in court resulting in convictions and heavy fines
  • Forced to pay higher registration costs of $300 annually
  • Required to build strict fencing and containment with associated costs

Your dog can be:

  • Seized for the length of an investigation
  • Destroyed, if the attack is found to be serious
  • Regulated as Dangerous or Menacing
Last updated: 07 April 2016