The Dog Act is an important part of any community. It keeps the community safe from dangerous or wandering dogs and ensures that there are actions that can be taken when something happens with a dog. In recent weeks there have been a number of wandering dogs within Dumbleyung and Kukerin and this article is written to clarify certain points of the act and to outline the actions that can be taken against a wandering, nuisance or dangerous dog.
The term dog attack is one that is taken quite literally and many people are lead to believe that a dog attack means that the dog actually has to make contact ferociously with a human. However, this is a misconception. A dog attack does not include behaviour by a dog as an immediate response to provocation but does include the following:
¨ Aggressively rushing at or harassing any person or animal
¨ Biting, or otherwise causing physical injury to a person or an animal
¨ Tearing clothing on or causing damage to the property of the person attacked
¨ Attempting to attach or behaving in such a manner towards a person that would cause that person to fear injury.
An example of this would be an incident as minor as a dog rushing towards a person in a public place such as a footpath bearing teeth but not coming in contact with that person causing that person to be fearful of injury. The owner of the dog rushing with bearing teeth is liable and the dog may be seized. Upon being seized, the Local Government can apply for authorisation to destroy the dog if a person or animal is injured or property is damaged. If no injury or damage occurs the dog may be declared a dangerous dog and then larger penalties and more strict rules apply.
Wandering dogs are a great concern as they can be unpredictable to people or animals they are not familiar with and they can cause road accidents. If a dog is found responsible for causing a road accident, the owner of the dog can be found liable and may have to pay $500,000 in damages. This is a good reason to ensure your dog doesn’t wander. General fines apply to wandering dogs and depending on the circumstances the minimum fine is $200.
Barking dogs can be a nuisance to community members, especially those in close proximity to the bark. If you have a barking dog, you can be fined $200 for a dog that is causing a nuisance. If your dog is a regular barker, it may be beneficial for you to invest in a barking collar or barking house to reduce the barking and train the dog not to bark in the future. Barking collars are safe but the barking house is more suitable for people that don’t like the thought of a barking collar. The Shire of Dumbleyung has barking collars available for hire upon request.
The Shire of Dumbleyung only allows residents within townsites to have two dogs on the property. If you would like to keep more than the prescribed number, you can write a letter to Council requesting approval.
Complaint forms for barking or wandering dogs are available from the shire office or on the website. Photographs of a wandering dog are also very good evidence to go with a complaint. Should you see a wandering dog and you are concerned, please contact the shire and we will ensure the dog is taken the pound and that the appropriate person is contacted. Fines may be issued upon capture and impounding.
If you witness or are involved in a dog attack, please contact the shire immediately so that the matter can be dealt with.
For more information on the Dog Act please contact the Shire.