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Causing a Dog to Inflict Harm

Causing a Dog to Inflict Harm is an offence under Section 35A of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You had control of a dog
  2. You caused the dog to inflict actual bodily harm on another person, and
  3. You were at least reckless to the fact injury may be caused

‘Actual bodily harm’ is that which is more than ‘transient or trifling’ it includes lasting scratches, abrasions and bruises.

The penalty increases to 10 years in prison where ‘grievous bodily harm’ is caused which is ‘very serious harm’ that includes, but is not limited to:

  • The destruction of a foetus, other than by a medical procedure
  • Any permanent or serious disfiguring, and
  • Any grievous bodily disease

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Self-defence
  2. Duress
  3. Necessity

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