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Your Rights and Remedies

Under the Dog Control Act 1996, dog owners must ensure that dogs do not:
  • cause a nuisance to any person
  • injure, endanger, or cause distress to any person
  • injure stock, poultry, domestic animals, or protected wildlife.
In short, neither you, nor your family nor any animals you might have, should be bothered, intimidated, or injured by dogs.

Your local council is responsible for administering the law and its own by-laws. By-laws may include designating:
  • dog exercise areas
  • areas where dogs are prohibited
  • areas where dogs may be required to be a leash.
You can find out about the by-laws by contacting your local council.

Dogs causing a nuisance
  • If a dog is causing a nuisance such as barking or roaming, you could contact the dog’s owner, explain what is bothering you, and ask them to stop or reduce the problem. You might find that the owner is very willing to deal with the issue and may well be unaware of it – for example where a dog barks continually while the owner is away at work.
  • If the owner is unwilling to fix the problem or doesn't know how to, or if you prefer not to approach the owner directly, you should contact your local council.

Dogs behaving dangerously

If you know of a dog behaving dangerously, for example roaming, rushing, barking aggressively or attacking people or other animals, you should contact your council promptly.

Tell them:
  • details that will help identify the dog (such as its owner’s address if you know this, its colour, and breed if you recognise what kind of dog it is)
  • date, time, place and any other facts of the incident/s
  • the owner’s response, if you have contacted the owner.
Follow up your complaint in writing. Include any other information such a copy of a doctor’s certificate if there was an injury, and whether you would be willing to testify in court.

If the dog has bitten someone or rushed at them in a way likely to result in injury or death, council dog control officers can seize the dog. The owner of the dog may be prosecuted.
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