Dangerous Dog Offences in Australia
Dangerous Dog Offences
Dangerous dog offences are dealt with under the Companion Animals Act 1998 (NSW) (“the Act”) and covers all types of companion related offences from your pet attacking people/other animals, to offences relating to owning a restricted dog. The Act is applicable in circumstances where a dog has done an act that warrants a declaration that the dog is either “dangerous” or “menacing”.
Section 33 of the Act defines “dangerous” to be where the dog:
Section 34 of the Act allows an authorised officer or Council to make a finding that a dog is a “dangerous dog” or “menacing dog” if satisfied of the following elements:
Section 16(1) of the Act makes it an offence for a dog to attack another person or animal. In order to satisfy the requirements of the offence, it must be proven that:
This also extends to dogs who are not yet declared to be dangerous or menacing.
Section 17(1) also make it an offence for a person to encourage a dog (whether or not the dog Is dangerous, menacing, or restricted) to attack another person or animal.
Section 35A Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) can also hold people criminally liable for dog attacks in situations where the attack causes grievous bodily harm or actual bodily harm. In order for to be charged with this offence, the Prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
The following defences may be available to you:
The types of penalties depends on whether you are charged under the Companion Animals Act or the Crimes Act. The following penalties can apply to you:
- Offences in circumstances where your dog is declared dangerous or menacing –
- up to 700 penalty units and/or 5 years imprisonment;
- permanent disqualification from owning a dog; and/or
- Pursuant to section 48 – an order that your dog be ‘destroyed’.
- Offence under the Crimes Act – maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.