Dog Attack Offences in NSW

An owner of a dog can even be fined if this occurs whilst they are not present.

If the dog is declared to be a dangerous or restricted dog, the maximum penalty increases to $44,000.

Restricted dogs are defined as one of the following breeds: –

  1. American Pitbull terrier;
  2. Pitbull terrier;
  3. Japanese tosa;
  4. Argentinian fighting dog; or
  5. Brazilian fighting dog.

If a dog is declared to be dangerous, this is through action and investigation from the owner’s local Council and can occur regardless of the breed of the dog.

What happens if my dog attacks due to my conduct?

If a dog attacks as the result of an owner’s conduct and behaviour, including a “reckless act or omission” or encouraging the dog to attack or bite, the maximum penalty is $22,000 and can also include a period of 2 years imprisonment.

If the attack is by a restricted or dangerous dog, there is an increase in the maximum penalty to $55,000 and can also include a period of 4 years imprisonment.

In addition to the above, the owner of a dog can be disqualified from owning another dog either for a temporary period or permanently, depending on the circumstances of the attack.

If an owner is found to have encouraged or urged a dog declared as restricted or dangerous to attack or bite another person or animal, the penalty is increased to $77,000 and a potential for 5 years imprisonment.

Can I be charged by Police for my dog attacking?

According to the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), the answer is yes, provided the following applies: –

  1. The person has control of the dog; and
  2. Does any act that causes the dog to inflict grievous bodily harm on another person; and
  3. Is reckless as to the injury that may be caused by the act.

It is important to note that grievous bodily harm is defined by the legislation as a “any permanent or serious disfiguring of the person” which can include broken bones.  

The maximum penalty for this type of offence is 10 years imprisonment.

In cases where there is actual harm, but not grievous bodily harm, the maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment.

If your dog has been involved in an attack with another person or animal, please contact our office on (02) 4655 4224 to book an appointment with one of our experienced solicitors to assist you.

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