A dog attack is defined as a “dog rushing at, attacking, biting, harassing or chasing any person or animal (other than vermin), whether or not any injury is caused to the person or animal.”
In the event of a dog attack, Council and Police can investigate the alleged dog attack.
If you have seen a dog attack a person or animal, or been attacked by a dog yourself, irrespective of whether the attack happened on public or on private property, you should report it to Council, phone (02) 6827 1900 or use the Report It form here.
If the attack occurred outside business hours, please call the police station on (02) 6354 2360. Police officers are authorised officers under the Companion Animals Act 1998. Authorised officers have a wide range of powers to deal with owners of attacking dogs, including seizing dogs that have attacked.
If you have been the subject of a serious dog attack, you may wish to seek your own legal advice to determine any remedies that may be available to you. You can access free legal advice by telephoning LawAccess NSW, a free Government telephone service providing legal information, advice and referrals, on 1300 888 529 (or TTY 1300 889 529) Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.
Who to call at Council in the event of a dog attack
When dog attacks are reported to Council, our Regulatory Officer is required to investigate the matter within 72 hours of the dog attack. Dog attacks are also required to be reported to the Office of Local Government.
During business hours you can call Council on (02) 6827 1900 or, if outside business hours, please phone the Regulatory Officer's mobile on 0427 255 881.
Can someone else remove my dog from my property
Under certain circumstances, the Companion Animals Act 1998 allows an authorised council officer or police officer to enter part of a property that is not used solely for residential purposes and seize a dog. These circumstances include where:
- the owner consents; or
- the dog has attacked or bitten an animal or person and the owner is not there; or
- the dog has attacked or bitten an animal or person and the owner cannot bring the dog under effective control.
An authorised council officer or police officer may enter the part of a property used solely for residential purposes where the owner consents or by virtue of a search warrant.
An authorised officer may also seize a dog at any time within 72 hours of an attack if the owner fails to keep the dog adequately secured or the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the dog will not be kept under effective control.
If a dog has been seized, the authorised officer must give the owner a notice setting out the reason for the seizure and the details of the place to which the dog has been taken.
The intention of this part of the Companion Animals Act 1998 is to give an authorised officer the power to bring under control a dog that has attacked and is at risk of continuing to cause an immediate threat to public safety.
Restricted dogs, proposed restricted dogs and declared dangerous or menacing dogs can also be seized and removed from a property in certain circumstances. Contact Council for further information.
A dog is considered dangerous if it has, without provocation:
- Attacked or killed a person or animal (other than vermin).
- Repeatedly threatened to attack or repeatedly chased a person or animal.
If a dog meets the above criteria, Council may declare the dog a 'dangerous dog'. Council must first give notice to the owner of a dog of their intention to declare the dog to be dangerous. You will be given information about your right to object to the proposed declaration. Objections must be made in writing within seven days. If you receive a notice from Council, you are immediately obligated to adhere to your responsibilities under the Companion Animals Act 1998. Do not wait until the declaration has been made.
On 1 January 2014, the NSW Government introduced the 'menacing dog' category. A dog is considered menacing if it:
- Has displayed unreasonable aggression towards a person or animal (other than vermin).
- Has, without provocation, attacked a person or animal (other than vermin) but whether out causing serious injury or death.
The Companion Animals Act 1998 regulations may declare a breed or kind of dog to be a menacing breed or kind of dog. Council must first give notice to the owner of a dog of their intention to declare the dog to be a menacing dog. You will be given information about your right to object to the proposed declaration. Objections must be made in writing within seven days. If you receive a notice from Council, you are immediately obligated to adhere to your responsibilities under the Companion Animals Act 1998. Do not wait until the declaration has been made.
Responsibilities of owners of menacing or dangerous dogs
Council will notify you in writing of your responsibilities if your dog is declared as a menacing or dangerous dog. These requirements will also be set out in the notice of intention to declare your dog as either menacing or dangerous. The Companion Animals Act 1998 outlines the full requirements.