Section 16 Companion Animals Act 1998 | Dog Attack


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Section 16 of the Companion Animals Act 1998 is Dog Attack and is extracted below.

It is the most common section used by Councils and Police to prosecute alleged dog attacks, bites and other aggressive behaviour.

It is important to note that your dog does not have to actually ‘attack’ for the offence to be established.

It is enough that your dog ‘rushes at’, ‘harasses’ or ‘chases’ any person or animal (other than vermin).

This makes the offence very broad and difficult to defend.

Prosecutions under section 16 are often accompanied by Dangerous Dog Declarations.

Dangerous Dog Declarations can be extremely onerous on you and your dog.

They require having your dog in an ‘approved enclosure’ at all times unless he or she is muzzled. Also, any breach of those obligations can have serious consequences for both you and your dog.

Our lawyers believe that dangerous dog obligations are inhumane.

We will use our expertise and vast experience in dangerous dog cases to convince the relevant Council not to go ahead with the dangerous dog declaration at all, or to agree to ‘Undertakings’ or ‘Control Orders’ instead; which may include a promise to always have your dog leashed when in public etc.

For expert advice and outstanding representation from Australia’s leading dangerous dog lawyers, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers today on (02) 9261 8881.

The Legislation

16 Offences where dog attacks person or animal

(1) If a dog rushes at, attacks, bites, harasses or chases any person or animal (other than vermin), whether or not any injury is caused to the person or animal:
(a) the owner of the dog, or
(b) if the owner is not present at the time of the offence and another person who is of or above the age of 16 years is in charge of the dog at that time–that other person, is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty:
(a) 50 penalty units except in the case of a dangerous or restricted dog, or
(b) 300 penalty units in the case of a dangerous or restricted dog.

(1A) The owner of a dangerous dog or a restricted dog is guilty of an offence if:
(a) the dog attacks or bites any person (whether or not any injury is caused to the person), and
(b) the incident occurs as a result of the owner’s failure to comply with any one or more of the requirements of section 51 or 56 (as the case requires) in relation to the dog. Maximum penalty: 500 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years, or both. Conviction for an offence under this subsection results in permanent disqualification from owning a dog or from being in charge of a dog in a public place. See section 23.

(2) It is not an offence under this section if the incident occurred:
(a) as a result of the dog being teased, mistreated, attacked or otherwise provoked, or
(b) as a result of the person or animal trespassing on the property on which the dog was being kept, or
(c) as a result of the dog acting in reasonable defence of a person or property, or
(d) in the course of lawful hunting, or
(e) in the course of the working of stock by the dog or the training of the dog in the working of stock.

(3) This section does not apply to a police dog or a corrective services dog.