You’re responsible for making sure your dog doesn’t bite, attack or rush at other people or animals, bark excessively and trespass on other properties.

On this page

You must also ensure that your dog doesn’t:

  • kill wildlife
  • damage property
  • cause traffic accidents
  • bark excessively
  • trespass on other properties
  • defecate in public areas.

The law requires you to securely confine your dog in your property and provide safe visitor access to your front door. Dogs should be on a lead at all times in public, except in designated off-leash areas, where they must be under voice control.

You should always supervise children with dogs give them plenty of exercise, obedience training and socialisation.

If a dog threatens or attacks someone who is outside your property or trying to access your front door, you may be held legally and financially responsible. This applies whether you’re home or not. A Magistrates’ Court can also order the destruction of the dog.

If a dog breaches the Domestic Animals Act 1994 or local laws, the person in charge of the dog at the time is considered to be the owner – even if that person isn’t the dog’s registered owner. An owner must be over 17 years.

If you want to report a problem with a dog or you and/or your pet are involved in a dog attack, contact us on 9524 3333 as soon as possible after the event. Be prepared to give as much information as possible including time, location, a description of the dog and owner, and your contact details.

Barking dogs

Barking is natural for dogs, but they generally don’t bark without a reason. Dogs can bark for the following reasons, namely when they are;

  • excited
  • stressed
  • bored
  • lonely
  • hungry
  • in discomfort.

They may also bark to give a warning, get attention or respond to a visitor.

Excessive barking is often a sign that something is wrong, but it may also be due to lack of exercise, inadequate shelter, moving house or a change in routine.

You must ensure that your dog doesn’t annoy neighbours by barking excessively.

Dangerous dogs

We may declare a dog to be dangerous if it attacks or bites a person or animal. Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, a dog is declared as dangerous if:

  • you’re training it to attack or bite people
  • you’re using it to guard non-residential property
  • if another council has already declared it dangerous.

It’s your responsibility to notify us that you own a dangerous dog. If so, you must:

  • ensure it has an identifying microchip implant
  • ensure it wears a dangerous dog collar (red and yellow striped). It’s an offence for non-dangerous dogs to wear the dangerous dog collar.
  • give us the microchip number
  • display a ‘dangerous dog’ sign at the entrance to your property
  • muzzle your dog and keep it on a leash at all times when it’s away from your property (and not guarding non-residential property)
  • keep it indoors or in a child-proof, escape-proof enclosure which complies with the Domestic Animal Act 1994

Outdoor enclosures for dangerous dogs must be fully enclosed with a weatherproof sleeping area and secure lock. Outdoor enclosures are subject to minimum size requirements and set construction materials.

Menacing dogs

We may declare a dog to be menacing if it has rushed at or chased a person in an aggressive manner, or if another council has already declared it as menacing.

Rushing at someone means approaching them in a menacing manner and displaying aggressive tendencies such as snarling, growling and raising hackles.

If you own a menacing dog, you must:

  • muzzle and restrain it with a chain, cord or leash when outside your property
  • notify us within 24 hours if your dog rushes at or chases a person, goes missing, or changes owners

How can I prevent and defend myself against dog attacks?

If an aggressive dog confronts you, we suggest that you:

  • stay still and calm until the dog moves away, after which time you should move away slowly
  • don’t look at the dog’s eyes
  • don’t run away, yell or behave aggressively

If you’re on the ground, your best defence is to cover your neck, head and face with your arms and curl your knees up to your chest.

It’s unwise to approach any dog tied up or unattended, and you should always get the owner’s permission before patting a dog. Even if a dog appears friendly, you should approach with caution.



Related pages