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Dog Attacks

All residents and visitors to the City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters have the right to use public land without fear of being attacked by a dog.

A dog attack is a very serious matter. If a dog attacks a person, an animal or bird owned by or in the charge of another person, the registered dog owner and/or the person in control of the dog may be held responsible.

All dog attacks should be reported to the Council, whether or not an injury has been sustained. This provides Council Animal Management Officers the opportunity to educate dog owners and minimise future risk to the community.

What to do when a dog attacks

After a dog attack, seek medical or veterinary treatment as required.

Any dog attack on a person or animal should be reported to the Council on 08 8366 4555 (after hours service available) as soon as possible.

Reporting a dog attack

Time is a critical factor in dealing with dog attacks, especially if the offending dog is wandering at large and still poses a risk to the public or other animals.

To report an incident, contact the Council on 08 8366 4555 (after hours service available).

To help the Council Animal Management Officers with their investigations, please provide as much of the following information as you can:

  • date, time and exact location of the attack. If you’re not sure and have a GPS equipped smart phone you can check on a map
  • description of the offending dog - registration disc, name tag, breed, colour, sex, markings, collar size and colour
  • description of the owner - name, address, contact phone number, male or female, age, hair colour, clothing
  • if a car was involved and the offender drove away with the dog - car registration number, make, model, colour
  • description and photographs of any injuries and location on your body or your pet's body.

You should also keep copies of any medical certificates, vet or doctor bills as evidence.

What happens when a dog is reported

  • authorised Council Animal Management Officer may take a statement or affidavit from you
  • photos may be taken of any injuries to yourself, or your animals or birds.
  • the dog's owner may be contacted to get their side of the incident.
  • investigators could seek witness statements and other evidence
  • investigators assess the circumstances and evidence and make a decision for action
  • Council will then issue legal notices as required
  • inform the parties of the outcome.

What Council can do in response to a dog attack

Depending on the severity of the attack, the Councils can:

  • issue a warning
  • impose an on the spot fine of $210 ($315 after 1 July 2017)
  • take direct court action (in more serious cases)
  • impose a control order (Nuisance, Dangerous Dog, Menacing Dog, or Destruction Order)
  • The maximum penalty for a dog attack is $2,500.

Preventing dog bites

Dogs bite for many reasons. The most common reasons are fear, pain or confusion when mixing with people and other dogs.

Ignoring signs of aggression can result in serious injury to you, a member of your family or others.

You can discourage biting by:

  • socialising your dog from an early age so that it learns how to mix with other dogs and other people in public
  • avoiding situations that may cause your dog to become nervous or anxious
  • training your dog - obedience classes help you learn about your dog, its body language and how you can communicate with it
  • desexing your dog. Research shows that, on average, desexed dogs are less aggressive. Note that desexing dog is now mandatory (with exemptions) as of 1 July 2018
  • asking your vet for advice if your dog shows any signs of aggression towards people.

More information

For more information about being a good dog owner, visit: Ownership Tips

For information about your legal obligations and rights, visit: Dog and Cat Management Act, 1995