Dog Act offences

In NSW Section 16 of The Companion Animals Act 1988 details the offences you can be charged with if your dog attacks another dog or a person.

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, the owner of the dog, or if the owner was not present the person (if over the age of 16 years) in charge of the dog at the time, will be guilty of an offence.

Dog owners face harsh penalties for these offences including large fines and imprisonment. Owners or carers of dogs who are found to be ‘reckless’ about their dog attacking another person or animal and if that person or animal sustains serious injuries, they can face up to one year in jail and or a fine of over $16,000.

It is, however, not an offence if the alleged incident occurred:

  • as a result of the dog being teased, attacked, mistreated, or provoked
  • as a result of the person or animal trespassing onto the property where the dog is being kept
  • as a result of the dog acting in reasonable defence of a person or property
  • in the course of lawful hunting
  • in the course of working with stock as a working dog

Section 16 of The Companion Animals Act 1988 does not apply to police dogs or corrective service dogs.

If you have been charged under The Companion Animals Act 1988 you need legal advice from a solicitor with experience in dog matters. Contact William Vahl at North Shore Criminal Law on (02) 9955 2298 or 0400 446424. William Vahl has over 20 years experience in criminal law, including numerous dog matters and is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist.