Dog Attacks

Under the Dog Control Act 1996 any person who sees a dog attacking any person, animal or bird, or who is attacked by any dog, may either seize or destroy the dog. This may mean taking action while the attack is happening. Destruction should be considered only if seizing the dog is not an option. You must not first seize and then destroy the dog.

If a dog attacks a person, animal or bird, you have reasonable grounds to make a complaint. Complainants' personal details are confidential.

How do I report an attack?

Contact us. You will be asked for:

  • Time and date of the incident.
  • Exact location of the incident e.g. house number and street.
  • Description of offending dog – colour, breed, size, sex, whether the dog had a collar or tag.
  • Address of the dog if known. If the address is unknown, possibly ask neighbours or follow the dog home and note the address.
  • Is the dog roaming - where was it when you last saw it?
  • If you have spoken to the owner, what was their response?   
  • The name and contact details of any witnesses to the attack.
  • What injuries, if any, were sustained by the animal or person that was attacked? Is a vet's or doctor's report available?
  • Photographs of the injuries if they're serious. The investigating officer may do this for you.
  • Your contact details.
  • The investigating officer will need a written and signed statement from you and any witnesses to the attack.

What happens when a complaint is made?

Following a complaint, the dog owner may be issued with a written warning or an infringement notice, and the dog could be classified as dangerous or menacing. Our Animal Control Team may be able to work with owners to prevent attacks happening again. We may also prosecute the owner of the dog, but this would depend on the severity of the attack.