top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureGeoff Harrison

Owner of Attacking Dog

Updated: Nov 3, 2023


Best Barrister, Best Lawyer, Best Solicitor, Best Criminal Barrister, criminal solicitor, criminal lawyer, criminal barrister, owner of attacking dog

Published by Geoff Harrison | 20 September 2023


Section 16 of the Companion Animals Act 1998 ('the Act') sets out the liability fo the owner of a dog that rushes at, attacks, bites, harasses or chases any perons or animal regardless of injury. The maximum penalty is 100 penalty units ($11,000) unless the dog is a dangerous or restricted dog. Where the dog is a dangerous or restricted dog and the dog attacks or bites someone due to the owner not complying with the requirements under s51 of the Act is liable to 5 years imprisonment and/or 700 penalty units. If convicted under s16(1A) of the Act a person is permanently disqualified from owning a dog or being in charge of a dog in a public place: s23 of the Act. The defences available to this charge are set out in s16(2) of the Act.


Other Sources:

Cases:


_____________________________________________________________________________

Extracted Legislation:


COMPANION ANIMALS ACT 1998 - SECT 16

Offences where dog attacks person or animal


(1) If a dog rushes at, attacks, bites, harasses or chases any person or animal (other than vermin), whether or not any injury is caused to the person or animal--

(a) the owner of the dog, or

(b) if the owner is not present at the time of the offence and another person who is of or above the age of 16 years is in charge of the dog at that time--that other person,

is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty--

(a) 100 penalty units except in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog, or

(b) 400 penalty units in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog.


(1AA) If a dog (other than a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog) rushes at, attacks, bites, harasses or chases any person or animal (other than vermin), whether or not any injury is caused to the person or animal--

(a) the owner of the dog is guilty of an offence if the incident occurs as a result of a reckless act or omission by the owner, or

(b) if the owner is not present at the time of the incident and another person who is of or above the age of 16 years is in charge of the dog at that time--that other person is guilty of an offence if the incident occurs as a result of a reckless act or omission by that other person.

Maximum penalty--200 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years, or both.


(1AB) If a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog rushes at, attacks, bites, harasses or chases any person or animal (other than vermin), whether or not any injury is caused to the person or animal--

(a) the owner of the dog is guilty of an offence if the incident occurs as a result of a reckless act or omission by the owner, or

(b) if the owner is not present at the time of the incident and another person who is of or above the age of 16 years is in charge of the dog at that time--that other person is guilty of an offence if the incident occurs as a result of a reckless act or omission by that other person.

Maximum penalty--500 penalty units or imprisonment for 4 years, or both.


(1A) The owner of a dangerous dog, a menacing dog or a restricted dog is guilty of an offence if--

(a) the dog attacks or bites any person (whether or not any injury is caused to the person), and

(b) the incident occurs as a result of the owner's failure to comply with any one or more of the requirements of section 51 or 56 (as the case requires) in relation to the dog.

Maximum penalty--700 penalty units or imprisonment for 5 years, or both.

Note: Conviction for an offence under this subsection results in permanent disqualification from owning a dog or from being in charge of a dog in a public place. See section 23.


(2) It is not an offence under this section if the incident occurred--

(a) as a result of the dog being teased, mistreated, attacked or otherwise provoked, or

(b) as a result of the person or animal trespassing on the property on which the dog was being kept, or

(c) as a result of the dog acting in reasonable defence of a person or property, or

(d) in the course of lawful hunting, or

(e) in the course of the working of stock by the dog or the training of the dog in the working of stock.


(3) This section does not apply to a police dog or a corrective services dog.


(4) If, on the trial of a person charged with an offence against subsection (1AA) or (1AB) the trier of fact is not satisfied that the person committed the offence but is satisfied that the person committed an offence against subsection (1), the trier of fact may find the person not guilty of the offence charged but guilty of an offence against subsection (1), and the person is liable to punishment accordingly.


(5) For the purposes of this section, recklessness may also be established by proof of intention.



COMPANION ANIMALS ACT 1998 - SECT 23

Disqualification from owning or being in charge of dog


(1) A person who is convicted of any of the following offences is permanently disqualified from owning a dog or from being in charge of a dog in a public place--

(a) an offence under section 16 (1AB) or (1A),

(b) an offence under section 17 where the dog concerned was a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog at the time of the offence,

(c) an offence under section 35A of the Crimes Act 1900.


(2) A court that convicts a person of an offence under any of the following provisions of this Act can order that the person is disqualified from owning a dog, or from being in charge of a dog in a public place, for a specified period--

(a) section 15 (Certain breeds of dogs to be muzzled),

(b) section 16 (1) or (1AA),

(c) section 17 (Dog must not be encouraged to attack), except where the dog concerned was a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog at the time of the offence,

(d) section 36 (Obligations of owner when notified of proposed declaration),

(e) section 49 (Failure to comply with destruction or control order),

(f) section 51 (Owner of dangerous dog or menacing dog must comply with control requirements),

(g) section 56 (Owner of restricted dog must comply with control requirements),

(h) any other provision prescribed by the regulations as a provision to which this subsection applies.


(3) A court that convicts a person of more than one offence under any of the following provisions of this Act during any 5 year period can, on the second or subsequent conviction during that period, order that the person is disqualified from owning a dog, or from being in charge of a dog in a public place, for a specified period--

(a) section 32A (Nuisance dogs),

(b) any other provision prescribed by the regulations as a provision to which this subsection applies.


(4) The maximum period of disqualification that a court can order under this section is 5 years. An order under this section is in addition to any penalty that the court can impose for an offence.


(5) The making of an order by a court under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 in respect of a person charged with an offence is to be treated for the purposes of this section as a conviction of the person for the offence.


(6) A person who is the owner of a dog, or who is in charge of a dog, in contravention of a disqualification or order under this section is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty--

(a) 10 penalty units except in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog, or

(b) 100 penalty units in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog.


COMPANION ANIMALS ACT 1998 - SECT 25

Liability for injury to person or damage to personal property


(1) The owner of a dog is liable in damages in respect of--

(a) bodily injury to a person caused by the dog wounding or attacking that person, and

(b) damage to the personal property of a person (including clothing) caused by the dog in the course of attacking that person.


(2) This section does not apply in respect of--

(a) an attack by a dog occurring on any property or vehicle of which the owner of the dog is an occupier or on which the dog is ordinarily kept, but only if the person attacked was not lawfully on the property or vehicle and the dog was not a dangerous dog, menacing dog or restricted dog at the time of the attack, or

(b) an attack by a dog that is in immediate response to, and is wholly induced by, intentional provocation of the dog by a person other than the owner of the dog or the owner's employees or agents.


(3) This section does not apply in respect of a police dog or a corrective services dog.


(4) This section does not affect the liability apart from this section of any person for damage caused by a dog.


COMPANION ANIMALS ACT 1998 - SECT 33

Meaning of "dangerous"


(1) For the purposes of this Act, a dog is

"dangerous" if it--

(a) has, without provocation, attacked or killed a person or animal (other than vermin), or

(b) has, without provocation, repeatedly threatened to attack or repeatedly chased a person or animal (other than vermin), or

(d) is kept or used for the purposes of hunting.


(2) A dog is not, for the purposes of subsection (1) (d), to be regarded as being kept or used for the purposes of hunting if it is used only to locate, flush, point or retrieve birds or vermin.

"Vermin" for the purposes of this subsection includes small pest animals only (such as rodents).

Note: If a hunting dog is declared to be a dangerous dog, the declaration does not necessarily mean that the dog cannot be used for the purposes of lawful hunting--see section 51 (3).



COMPANION ANIMALS ACT 1998 - SECT 51

Owner of dangerous or menacing dog must comply with control requirements


(1) The owner of a dog that is declared to be a dangerous dog under this Act must ensure that each of the following requirements is complied with while the declaration is in force--

(a) The dog must be desexed (if it is not already desexed) within 28 days after it is declared a dangerous dog. If the owner appeals against the declaration, the operation of this paragraph is stayed until the appeal is either withdrawn or determined.

(b) The dog must not at any time be in the sole charge of a person under the age of 18 years.

(c) While the dog is on property on which the dog is ordinarily kept, the dog must be kept in an enclosure that complies with the requirements prescribed by the regulations. The owner has 3 months from the date on which the dog is declared dangerous to comply. In the case of an existing dangerous dog, the owner has 6 months from the relevant date to comply.

Note : A certificate of compliance in relation to the prescribed enclosure must be obtained by the owner of the dog--see section 58H.

(c1) Until such time as the requirement under paragraph (c) is complied with, the dog must, while on property on which it is ordinarily kept, be kept in an enclosure that is sufficient to restrain the dog and prevent a child from having access to the dog.

(d) One or more signs must be displayed on that property showing the words "Warning Dangerous Dog" in letters clearly visible from the boundaries of the property on which the dog is ordinarily kept or, if the regulations provide for the signs required by this paragraph, complying with the regulations.

(d1) The dog must at all times wear a collar of the kind prescribed by the regulations.

(e) Whenever the dog is outside its enclosure, the dog--

(i) must be under the effective control of some competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by (or secured to) the person, and

(ii) must be muzzled in a manner that is sufficient to prevent it from biting any person or animal.

For the purposes of this paragraph, a dog is not considered to be under the effective control of a person if the person has more than 2 dogs (one of which is the dangerous dog) under his or her control at the one time.

(i) The owner must notify the council of the area in which the dog is ordinarily kept of the following matters within the time specified in relation to each of those matters--

(i) that the dog (with or without provocation) has attacked or injured a person or an animal (other than vermin)--notice to be given within 24 hours after the attack or injury,

(ii) that the dog cannot be found--notice to be given within 24 hours after the dog's absence is first noticed,

(iii) that the dog has died--notice to be given as soon as practicable after the death,

(v) that the dog is no longer being ordinarily kept in the area of the council--notice to be given as soon as practicable after the change of location,

(vi) that the dog is being ordinarily kept at a different location in the area of the council--notice to be given as soon as practicable after the change of location.

(j) If the owner intends to keep the dog in the area of a council that is not the area in which the dog was ordinarily kept when the declaration was made, the owner must notify the council of the area in which the dog is intended to be ordinarily kept of his or her intention to do so.

(k) The dog must, regardless of its age, be registered under this Act (if not already so registered) within 7 days after it is declared a dangerous dog.

(l) The dog must be the subject of a permit issued under this Act, as required by section 11C.

Note : Section 11 also requires the owner of a dog to notify the Departmental Chief Executive within 7 days after a Court declares the dog a dangerous dog or revokes the declaration. If the order is made or revoked by a council, the council is required to notify the Departmental Chief Executive (see section 40).


(1A) The owner of a dog that is declared to be a menacing dog under this Act must ensure that each of the following requirements is complied with while the declaration is in force--

(a) The dog must be desexed (if it is not already desexed) within 28 days after it is declared to be a menacing dog.

(b) During any period that the menacing dog--

(i) is on property on which the dog is ordinarily kept, and

(ii) is not under the effective control of a person of or above the age of 18 years,

the dog must be enclosed in a manner that is sufficient to restrain the dog and prevent a child from having access to the dog.

(c) Whenever the menacing dog is outside property on which the dog is ordinarily kept, the dog--

(i) must be under the effective control of some competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by (or secured to) the person, and

(ii) must be muzzled in a manner that is sufficient to prevent it from biting any person or animal.

For the purposes of this paragraph, a dog is not considered to be under the effective control of a person if the person has more than 2 dogs (one of which is the menacing dog) under his or her control at the one time.

(d) The requirements set out in subsection (1) (b), (d), (d1), (i), (j) and (k). The reference in subsection (1) (k) to a dangerous dog is taken for the purposes of this paragraph to be a reference to a menacing dog.

Note : Section 11 also requires the owner of a dog to notify the Departmental Chief Executive within 7 days after a Court declares the dog a menacing dog or revokes the declaration. If the order is made or revoked by a council, the council is required to notify the Departmental Chief Executive (see section 40).


(2) An owner of a dog who does not comply with any of the requirements of this section is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty--150 penalty units.


(3) Exemption from being on lead and muzzled while hunting In the case of a dog that has been declared dangerous on the ground that it is kept or used for the purposes of hunting, the requirements imposed under subsection (1) (e) do not apply while the dog is actually engaged in lawful hunting.


(4) The requirements imposed under this section on the owner of a dangerous dog or menacing dog are additional to the other requirements of this Act imposed on the owner of a dog.


(5) In subsection (1) (c)--

"existing dangerous dog" means a dog that is the subject of a declaration by a council or court under this Part and in force immediately before the relevant date.


"relevant date" means the date on which this subsection (as inserted by the Companion Animals Amendment Act 2005 ) commences.


COMPANION ANIMALS ACT 1998 - SECT 54

Civil liability of owner of dangerous or menacing dog


The mere fact that a dog has at any time been declared to be a dangerous or menacing dog under this Act does not affect the civil liability of the owner of the dog in any proceedings (other than proceedings under this Act).



COMPANION ANIMALS ACT 1998 - SECT 56

Owner of restricted dog must comply with control requirements


(1) The owner of a restricted dog must ensure that each of the following requirements is complied with--

(a) In the case of an existing restricted dog, the dog must be desexed within 28 days after the relevant date.


In the case of a dog declared by an authorised officer of a council under Division 6 of this Part to be a restricted dog, the dog must be desexed within 28 days after it is declared to be a restricted dog.


In the case of any other restricted dog born after the relevant date, the dog must be desexed within 3 months of being born.

(a1) While the dog is on property on which the dog is ordinarily kept, the dog must be kept in an enclosure that complies with the requirements prescribed by the regulations.


In the case of an existing restricted dog, or a restricted dog born within 3 months after the relevant date, the owner has 6 months from the relevant date to comply with this paragraph.


Otherwise, the owner has 3 months from the date on which the restricted dog is born or 3 months from the date on which the dog is declared to be a restricted dog under Division 6 of this Part (as the case requires) to comply with this paragraph.

Note: A certificate of compliance in relation to the prescribed enclosure must be obtained by the owner of the dog--see section 58H.

(a2) Until such time as the requirement under paragraph (a1) is complied with in relation to the dog, the dog must, while on property on which it is ordinarily kept, be kept in an enclosure that is sufficient to restrain the dog and prevent a child from having access to the dog.

(b) The dog must not at any time be in the sole charge of a person under the age of 18 years.

(c) One or more signs must be displayed on that property showing the words "Warning Dangerous Dog" in letters clearly visible from the boundaries of the property on which the dog is ordinarily kept or, if the regulations provide for the signs required by this paragraph, complying with the regulations.

(c1) The dog must at all times wear a collar of the kind prescribed by the regulations.

(d) Whenever the dog is outside its enclosure, the dog--

(i) must be under the effective control of some competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by (or secured to) the person, and

(ii) must be muzzled in a manner that is sufficient to prevent it from biting any person or animal.

For the purposes of this paragraph, a dog is not considered to be under the effective control of a person if the person has more than 2 dogs (one of which is the restricted dog) under his or her control at the one time.

(g) The owner must notify the council of the area in which the dog is ordinarily kept of the following matters within the time specified in relation to each of those matters--

(i) that the dog (with or without provocation) has attacked or injured a person or animal (other than vermin)--notice to be given within 24 hours after the attack or injury,

(ii) that the dog cannot be found--notice to be given within 24 hours after the dog's absence is first noticed,

(iii) that the dog has died--notice to be given as soon as practicable after the death,

(v) that the dog is no longer being ordinarily kept in the area of the council--notice to be given as soon as practicable after the change of location,

(vi) that the dog is being ordinarily kept at a different location in the area of the council--notice to be given as soon as practicable after the change of location.

(h) In the case of a dog declared by an authorised officer of a council under Division 6 of this Part to be a restricted dog, the dog must, regardless of its age, be registered (if not already registered) within 7 days after it is declared to be a restricted dog.

(i) The dog must be the subject of a permit issued under this Act, as required by section 11D.


(2) An owner of a dog who does not comply with any of the requirements of this section is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty--150 penalty units.


(3) The requirements imposed under this section on the owner of a restricted dog are additional to the other requirements of this Act imposed on the owner of a dog.


(4) In the event of an inconsistency between this section and the provisions of any agreement, covenant or instrument, this section is to prevail, but to the extent only of the inconsistency.


COMPANION ANIMALS ACT 1998 - SECT 58G

Power to seize and destroy dangerous, menacing or restricted dog in certain circumstances


(1) Seizing dangerous, menacing or restricted dog that attacks An authorised officer may seize a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog if the dog attacks or bites a person or animal (other than vermin) without provocation.


(1A) Seizing dangerous dog if certain control requirements not complied with An authorised officer may seize a dangerous dog if the requirements referred to in section 51 (1) (c), (c1) or (e) are not complied with in relation to the dog.


(1B) Seizing menacing dog if certain control requirements not complied with An authorised officer may seize a menacing dog if the requirements referred to in section 51 (1A) (b) or (c) are not complied with in relation to the dog on at least 2 separate occasions over any period of 12 months (whether or not each occasion relates to the same requirement).

Note : See section 57 (4) for the power to seize a restricted dog for non-compliance with any of the control requirements under section 56.


(2) If a dog is seized under this section--

(a) the dog is to be delivered as soon as possible to a council pound, and

(b) an authorised officer of a council may authorise the destruction of the dog.


(3) However, if the dog has been seized under subsection (1A), the authorised officer may authorise the destruction of the dog only if the officer is satisfied that it is reasonable to do so after appropriate enquiries have been made into the circumstances that resulted in the dog being seized.


(4) Part 7 (other than sections 68 and 69) does not apply in relation to a dog that is seized under this section.


(5) This section does not limit the power of an authorised officer to seize a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog under any other provision of this Act.







2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Bias

bottom of page