Aggressive dogs

All dog owners hope their pet won't show aggression towards other animals or people, but it can and does happen for many reasons. It is often a sign of irresponsible ownership and always against the law! Pet owners are always responsible and legally liable for the actions of their animals.

We are all aware of the need to protect our community from the danger and fear of dog attacks. People have a right to feel safe in the community and it is the responsibility of pet owners to ensure the protection of others and to keep public areas safe for people to enjoy.

Aggressive animals have no place in public areas unless under close and direct supervision.

Responsible ownership

Always supervise children around dogs. Dog play can become rough and may sometimes result in a bite. Constantly monitor your children when a dog is around and never leave babies or young children alone with a dog.

Keep children away from a dog if it is sleeping, feeding (especially chewing a bone) or if recovering from an illness or injury.

Always check to see that your fencing or dog enclosure is secure. Keeping your dog confined will greatly lessen the risk to others in the community.

Always use a leash when walking your dog in public and watch your pet to monitor and control any situation.

There are additional special responsibilities for owners of dangerous dogs and owners should contact council.

Impact on victims

Being bitten or attacked by a dog can produce serious physical, psychological and emotional effects, not only for the person who is attacked but also for the owner of the attacking dog.

Even if the victim is not bitten, the threat of the attack can cause lasting trauma. How would you feel if you were the victim?


There are laws to prevent dog attacks, and should your dog attack a person or another animal, you could be fined and may also lose your dog.

Once a dog has attacked, council may declare the dog menacing or dangerous and the owner will have to comply with conditions under the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act to keep the dog.

When a dog is classified as "dangerous" the owner must:

  • Ensure the dog is always muzzled in a public place
  • Display a sign advising of a dangerous dog on the premises
  • Maintain the dog's registration with council at all times, and
  • Provide and maintain a fence or enclosure to prevent the dog from escaping

What to do when a dog attacks

You should:

  • Seek medical treatment straight away
  • Report the incident to council.

What will council do

Once the incident has been reported to council, a Local Law Officer will investigate the alleged attack and collect the following information:

  • Interviews from the victim, witnesses and dog owner
  • Statements and Statutory Declarations from the victim, witnesses and dog owner
  • Photo evidence of injury to the victim from the incident.

On completion of the investigation the Local Law Officer will make a recommendation and inform everyone involved.

For more information on this issue please contact council by phoning 1300 MACKAY (622 529) or by emailing