Your Pet - Your Responsibility

Posted on 09 November 2011

Following a number of recent horrific dog attacks noted in local and national papers, it is worth noting the requirements by law to keep a dog.

You must ensure:-

  • your dog can be identified by microchip from 12 weeks of age or before a dog is sold to you
  • your dog is registered from 6 months of age
  • your dog wears a collar and tag
  • your dog is prevented from escaping from your property
  • when in a public place you dog must be under effective control by a competent person and is restrained by an adequate chain, cord or leash and that your dog is held or secured to that person
  • your dog is not in a prohibited public place such as a children’s play area, recreation area, public bathing areas, school grounds, child care centres, shopping areas, wildflife protection areas or food preparation and consumption areas
  • if you are the owner of a Greyhound (or other dogs listed in this category), that your dog is muzzled securely in such a manner that will prevent it biting any person or other animal when in public your dog is unable to attack, bite, harass or chase a person or another animal whether or not any injury is caused to the person or animal.
  • Dogs which attack either a person or another animal may be secured or seized by an authorised officer at any time within 72 hours after an attack or bite
  • your dog is not encouraged to attack or bite, harass or chase a person or animal (other than vermin), whether or not actual injury is caused
  • you remove any dog faeces left in a public place and dispose of it correctly

You must ensure your dog is not:-

  • a nuisance dog which is habitually at large, barks persistently in an unreasonable manner interfering with the peace or your neighbourhood,
  • repeatedly at large and runs or chases any person, animal or vehicle
  • endangering the health of any person or animal
  • causing substantial damage to anything outside of the property on which it is normally kept

If your dog causes injury to a person or damage to personal property, you as the dog’s owner, are liable. This responsibility covers bodily injury to a person and damage to personal property of a person including clothing.

“Where the death of a person is caused by a dog wounding or attacking the person and the person would (had death not ensued) have been entitled under section 25 to recover damages from the owner of the dog in respect of bodily injury caused by the wounding or attack, the wounding or attack is, for the purposes of the Compensation to Relatives Act 1897, taken to be a wrongful act such as would (had death not ensued) have entitled the injured person to maintain an action against, and recover damages from, the owner of the dog in respect of that act.” (Law Society of NSW Companion Animals Act 1998 No 87)

As the owner of a dog which injures another animal, whether fatal or not, again liability rests with the owner.

If you are experiencing a problem with another person’s dog or you have been charged with an offence relating to your dog and would like to seek legal advice, call Dooley and Associates.

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