Companion Animals Act 1998 No 87
Current version for 18 November 2013 to date (accessed 24 November 2014 at 01:28)
Part 3

Part 3 Responsibilities for control of dogs

Division 1 General responsibilities

12   Dog to wear collar and tag

(1)  A dog must have a collar around its neck and there must be attached to the collar:
(a)  a name tag that shows the name of the dog and the address or telephone number of the owner of the dog, and
(b)  (Repealed)
(2)  The owner of the dog is guilty of an offence if this section is not complied with.

Maximum penalty:

(a)  8 penalty units except in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog, or
(b)  50 penalty units in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog.

(3)  The regulations may impose requirements in respect of the size, colour and material of a tag for use for the purposes of this section.
(4)  This section does not apply to a dog while it is on property of which the owner of the dog is the occupier or to a working dog.

12A   Preventing dog from escaping

(1)  The owner of a dog must take all reasonable precautions to prevent the dog from escaping from the property on which it is being kept.

Maximum penalty:

(a)  8 penalty units except in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog, or
(b)  50 penalty units in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog.

(2)  For the purposes of subsection (1), owner of a dog includes the person who is for the time being in charge of the dog.

13   Responsibilities while dog in public place

(1)  A dog that is in a public place must be under the effective control of some competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by (or secured to) the person.
(2)  If this section is contravened:
(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)  10 penalty units except in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog, or
(b)  100 penalty units in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog.

(3)  Any person (including an authorised officer) can seize a dog that is in a public place in contravention of this section. If the owner of the dog is present, the dog cannot be seized except by an authorised officer and only then if the contravention continues after the owner has been told of the contravention. A reference in this subsection to the owner of the dog includes a reference to the person who is for the time being in charge of the dog.
Note. Putting the dog on a leash prevents the dog being seized but it does not excuse the contravention and does not stop action being taken for the contravention.
(4)  A dog is not considered to be under the effective control of a person if the person has more than 4 dogs under his or her control.
(5)  This section does not apply to:
(a)  a dog accompanied by some competent person in an area declared to be an off-leash area by a declaration under this section (but only if the total number of dogs that the person is accompanied by or has control of does not exceed 4), or
(b)  a dog engaged in the droving, tending or working of stock, or
(c)  a dog being exhibited for show purposes, or
(d)  a dog participating in an obedience class, trial or exhibition, or
(e)  a police dog, or
(e1)  a corrective services dog, or
(f)  a dog secured in a cage or vehicle or tethered to a fixed object or structure.
Note. Just because a dog is not on a lead in an off-leash area, or is secured in a cage or vehicle or is tethered to a fixed object or structure, does not mean that an offence under section 16 is not committed if the dog rushes at, attacks, bites, harasses or chases any person or animal, whether or not any injury is caused.
(6)  A local authority can by order declare a public place to be an off-leash area. Such a declaration can be limited so as to apply during a particular period or periods of the day or to different periods of different days. However, there must at all times be at least one public place in the area of a local authority that is an off-leash area.

14   Dogs prohibited in some public places

(1)  Dogs are prohibited in the following places (whether or not they are leashed or otherwise controlled):
(a)  Children’s play areas (meaning any public place, or part of a public place, that is within 10 metres of any playing apparatus provided in that public place or part for the use of children).
(b)  Food preparation/consumption areas (meaning any public place, or part of a public place, that is within 10 metres of any apparatus provided in that public place or part for the preparation of food for human consumption or for the consumption of food by humans).
(c)  Recreation areas where dogs are prohibited (meaning any public place, or part of a public place, provided or set apart by a local authority for public recreation or the playing of organised games and in which the local authority has ordered that dogs are prohibited and in which, or near the boundaries of which, there are conspicuously exhibited by the local authority at reasonable intervals notices to the effect that dogs are prohibited in or on that public place or part).
(d)  Public bathing areas where dogs are prohibited (meaning any public place or any part of a public place that is used for or in conjunction with public bathing or public recreation (including a beach), in which the local authority has ordered that dogs are prohibited and in which, or near the boundaries of which, there are conspicuously exhibited by the local authority at reasonable intervals notices to the effect that dogs are prohibited in or on that public place).
(e)  School grounds (meaning any property occupied or used for a purpose connected with the conduct of a government school or non- government school under the Education Act 1990, other than any property used for a residence or the curtilage of a residence).
(f)  Child care centres (meaning any property occupied or used for a purpose connected with the conduct of an approved education and care service within the meaning of the Children (Education and Care Services) National Law (NSW) or the Children (Education and Care Services) Supplementary Provisions Act 2011, other than any property used for a residence or the curtilage of a residence).
(g)  Shopping areas where dogs are prohibited (meaning a shopping arcade or shopping complex, including any part of it that is used by the public for parking or access to shops, in which or part of which the local authority has ordered that dogs are prohibited and in which, or near the boundaries of which, there are conspicuously exhibited by the local authority at reasonable intervals notices to the effect that dogs are prohibited there). This paragraph does not apply to any shop or part of a shop.
(h)  Wildlife protection areas (meaning any public place or any part of a public place set apart by the local authority for the protection of wildlife and in which the local authority has ordered that dogs are prohibited for the purposes of the protection of wildlife and in which, or near the boundaries of which, there are conspicuously exhibited by the local authority at reasonable intervals notices to the effect that dogs are prohibited in or on that public place).
(2)  If a dog is in a place in which dogs are prohibited under this section:
(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)  10 penalty units except in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog, or
(b)  100 penalty units in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog.

(3)  Any person (including an authorised officer) can seize a dog that is in a place in which dogs are prohibited under this section. If the owner of the dog is present, the dog cannot be seized except by an authorised officer and only then if the owner fails to remove the dog from the place when the officer directs the owner to do so. A reference in this subsection to the owner of the dog includes a reference to the person who is for the time being in charge of the dog.
Note. Removing the dog prevents the dog being impounded but it does not excuse the contravention and does not stop action being taken for the contravention.
(4)  A dog is not prohibited under this section in a place that is a food preparation/consumption area if the place is a public thoroughfare (such as a road, footpath or pathway).
(5)  A dog is not prohibited under this section in a school ground or child care centre if it is there with the permission of the person controlling the school ground or child care centre.
(6)  A dog is not prohibited under this section in a place within a shopping area if it is there:
(a)  in a vehicle that is secured in such a way as to prevent the dog from escaping from it, or
(b)  with the permission of the person controlling the place, or
(c)  for the purpose of being taken to or from a pet shop, the premises of a veterinary practitioner or a similar establishment.
(7)  A local authority is authorised to make the orders contemplated by this section.
(8)  This section does not apply to the following dogs:
(a)  a police dog,
(b)  a dog that is an assistance animal being used bona fide by a person with a disability to assist the person,
(c)  a corrective services dog.

14A   Dogs not prohibited in outdoor dining areas in certain circumstances

(1)  The relevant legal restrictions do not prohibit a dog (other than a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog) from being in an outdoor dining area if:
(a)  the dog is under the effective control of some competent person and is restrained by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog, and
(b)  the person does not feed the dog or permit the dog to be fed, and
(c)  the dog is kept on the ground.
(2)  However, if the outdoor dining area is within a public place declared by a local authority to be an off-leash area:
(a)  it is not necessary for the dog to be restrained by means of a chain, cord or leash, and
(b)  the dog can be fed while the dog is on the ground, but not using any apparatus provided for the consumption of food by humans, and
(c)  the dog can sit on a person’s lap, but must not be allowed to sit on any table or chairs or make contact with other apparatus provided for the consumption of food by humans.
(3)  This section does not confer any entitlement on a person accompanied by a dog to use any table and chairs or other apparatus provided in an outdoor dining area by a food business (within the meaning of the Food Act 2003) without the permission of the operator of the food business.
(4)  The relevant legal restrictions are:
(a)  section 14 (1) (b), and
(b)  the Food Act 2003 and the Food Standards Code (within the meaning of that Act).
(5)  An outdoor dining area is an area that:
(a)  is used for the consumption of food by humans, and
(b)  is not enclosed, and
(c)  can be entered by the public without passing through an enclosed area in which dogs are prohibited by this Act or the other relevant legal restrictions,
but does not include any part of an area that is used for the preparation of food.
(6)  An area is enclosed if, except for doorways and passageways, the area is substantially or completely enclosed, whether permanently or temporarily, by:
(a)  a ceiling or roof, and
(b)  walls or windows (or both).

15   Greyhounds and other breeds to be muzzled

(1)  A greyhound and any other dog to which this section applies must at all times have a muzzle securely fixed on its mouth in such a manner as will prevent it from biting any person or animal, except when the dog is:
(a)  in or on any property or vehicle of which the owner of the dog is an occupier or where the dog is ordinarily kept, or
(b)  under the effective control of some competent person and being exhibited for show purposes or participating in an obedience trial, or
(c)  exempted from this section by the regulations.
(2)  If this section is contravened:
(a)  the owner of the greyhound or other 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 greyhound or other dog at that time—that other person,
is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: 8 penalty units.

(3)  The regulations may prescribe any breed, kind or description of dog as a breed, kind or description to which this section applies and a dog of that breed, kind or description is then a dog to which this section applies.

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)  100 penalty units except in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog, or
(b)  400 penalty units in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog.

(1AA)  If a dog (other than a dangerous, menacing or restricted 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 is guilty of an offence if the incident occurs as a result of a reckless act or omission by the owner, or
(b)  if the owner is not present at the time of the incident 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 if the incident occurs as a result of a reckless act or omission by that other person.

Maximum penalty: 200 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years, or both.

(1AB)  If a dangerous, menacing or restricted 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 is guilty of an offence if the incident occurs as a result of a reckless act or omission by the owner, or
(b)  if the owner is not present at the time of the incident 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 if the incident occurs as a result of a reckless act or omission by that other person.

Maximum penalty: 500 penalty units or imprisonment for 4 years, or both.

(1A)  The owner of a dangerous dog, a menacing 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: 700 penalty units or imprisonment for 5 years, or both.

Note. 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.
(4)  If, on the trial of a person charged with an offence against subsection (1AA) or (1AB) the trier of fact is not satisfied that the person committed the offence but is satisfied that the person committed an offence against subsection (1), the trier of fact may find the person not guilty of the offence charged but guilty of an offence against subsection (1), and the person is liable to punishment accordingly.
(5)  For the purposes of this section, recklessness may also be established by proof of intention.

17   Dog must not be encouraged to attack

(1)  A person who sets on or urges a dog (other than a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog) to attack, bite, harass or chase any person or animal (other than vermin) is guilty of an offence, whether or not actual injury is caused.

Maximum penalty: 200 penalty units.

(1A)  A person who sets on or urges a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog to attack, bite, harass or chase any person or animal (other than vermin) is guilty of an offence, whether or not actual injury is caused.

Maximum penalty: 700 penalty units or imprisonment for 5 years, or both.

Note. If the dog is a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog, conviction for an offence under this section results in permanent disqualification from owning a dog or from being in charge of a dog in a public place. See section 23.
(2)  This section does not apply to something done by a person:
(a)  in the reasonable defence of a person or property,
(b)  in the proper performance of the person’s duties as a police officer or correctional officer (within the meaning of the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999),
(c)  in the course of the use of a dog for the working of stock or the training of a dog in the working of stock,
(d)  in the course of lawful hunting.

18   Dog that has attacked or bitten may be secured or seized

(1)  If a dog attacks or bites any person or animal (except vermin) otherwise than in the circumstances referred to in section 16 (2), an authorised officer may, at any time within 72 hours after the attack or bite:
(a)  secure the dog on property that the officer has reason to believe is occupied by the dog’s owner, or
(b)  seize the dog.
(2)  Any other person may seize the dog if the dog is on property owned or occupied by the person.
(3)  If the dog is on property that an authorised officer has reason to believe is occupied by the dog’s owner, the officer may seize the dog only if the officer is satisfied that:
(a)  the dog cannot be kept adequately secured on that property, or
(b)  the dog cannot be kept under the effective control of some competent person while it is on that property, or
(c)  the owner of the dog has repeatedly failed to keep the dog secured on that property or under the effective control of a competent person while it is on that property (regardless of whether the dog is secured or under effective control at the relevant time).
(4)  An authorised officer who, under this section, secures or seizes a dog on property that the officer has reason to believe is property occupied by the dog’s owner must, before leaving that property, prepare a notice setting out:
(a)  the reasons why the dog has been secured or seized, and
(b)  the method by which the dog has been secured, or the place to which it has been taken, as the case may be.
(5)  The notice must be left:
(a)  in a conspicuous place on the property, or
(b)  with a person (being a person apparently above the age of 16 years) who appears to be an occupier of the property.
(6)  This section applies whether or not any injury is caused to a person or animal by the dog’s attack or bite.

19   (Repealed)

20   Dogs defecating in public place

(1)  If a dog defecates in a public place:
(a)  the owner of the dog, or
(b)  if the owner is not present at the relevant time 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,
must immediately remove the dog’s faeces and properly dispose of them.

Maximum penalty: 8 penalty units.

(2)  Proper disposal includes disposal in a rubbish receptacle designated for the purpose by the local authority. It is the duty of a local authority for a place that is commonly used for exercising dogs (including an off-leash area) to provide sufficient rubbish receptacles for the proper disposal of the faeces of dogs that defecate in the place.
(3)  This section does not apply when the dog is an assistance animal being used bona fide by a person with a disability to assist the person and the person’s disability makes compliance by the person with this section not reasonably practicable.

21, 21A   (Renumbered as secs 32A, 32B)

22   Action to protect persons and property against dogs

(1)  Any person may lawfully seize a dog if that action is reasonable and necessary for the prevention of damage to property.
(2)  Any person may lawfully seize, injure or destroy a dog if that action is reasonable and necessary for the protection of any person or animal (other than vermin) from injury or death.
(3)  However, subsection (2) does not authorise the seizure of, injury to or destruction of a dog that is engaged in the droving, tending, working or protection of stock unless the action is reasonable and necessary for the protection of a person from injury or death.
(4)  (Repealed)
(5)  If a dog that is not under the effective control of some competent person enters any inclosed lands within the meaning of the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 and approaches any animal being farmed on the land, the occupier of the land or any person authorised by the occupier can lawfully injure or destroy the dog if he or she reasonably believes that the dog will molest, attack or cause injury to any of those animals.
(6)  An authorised officer who finds a dog attacking or harassing an animal (other than vermin) within a wildlife protection area (as defined in section 14 (1) (h)) can lawfully injure or destroy the dog if there is no other reasonably practicable way of protecting the animal.
(7)  A person who takes action under the authority of this section that results in the injury to or death of a dog must:
(a)  take reasonable steps to ensure that an injured dog receives any necessary treatment, and
(b)  report the matter to an authorised officer (unless the person is an authorised officer) and comply with such reasonable directions as the authorised officer may give for the purpose of causing the dog to be returned to its owner or taken to a council pound, and
(c)  take reasonable steps to inform the owner of the dog.
(8)  An authorised officer is not to give a direction under this section for the purpose of causing a dog to be taken to a council pound unless the authorised officer is satisfied that the owner of the dog cannot be identified.
(9)  Nothing in this section authorises a contravention of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979.
(10)  The authority conferred by this section to destroy a dog extends only to authorising the destruction of the dog in a manner that causes it to die quickly and without unnecessary suffering.

23   Disqualification from owning or being in charge of dog

(1)  A person who is convicted of any of the following offences is permanently disqualified from owning a dog or from being in charge of a dog in a public place:
(a)  an offence under section 16 (1AB) or (1A),
(b)  an offence under section 17 where the dog concerned was a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog at the time of the offence,
(c)  an offence under section 35A of the Crimes Act 1900.
(2)  A court that convicts a person of an offence under any of the following provisions of this Act can order that the person is disqualified from owning a dog, or from being in charge of a dog in a public place, for a specified period:
(a)  section 15 (Greyhounds and other breeds to be muzzled),
(b)  section 16 (1) or (1AA),
(c)  section 17 (Dog must not be encouraged to attack), except where the dog concerned was a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog at the time of the offence,
(d)  section 36 (Obligations of owner when notified of proposed declaration),
(e)  section 49 (Failure to comply with destruction or control order),
(f)  section 51 (Owner of dangerous dog or menacing dog must comply with control requirements),
(g)  section 56 (Owner of restricted dog must comply with control requirements),
(h)  any other provision prescribed by the regulations as a provision to which this subsection applies.
(3)  A court that convicts a person of more than one offence under any of the following provisions of this Act during any 5 year period can, on the second or subsequent conviction during that period, order that the person is disqualified from owning a dog, or from being in charge of a dog in a public place, for a specified period:
(a)  section 32A (Nuisance dogs),
(b)  any other provision prescribed by the regulations as a provision to which this subsection applies.
(4)  The maximum period of disqualification that a court can order under this section is 5 years. An order under this section is in addition to any penalty that the court can impose for an offence.
(5)  The making of an order by a court under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 in respect of a person charged with an offence is to be treated for the purposes of this section as a conviction of the person for the offence.
(6)  A person who is the owner of a dog, or who is in charge of a dog, in contravention of a disqualification or order under this section is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty:

(a)  10 penalty units except in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog, or
(b)  100 penalty units in the case of a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog.

24   Appeal against disqualification from owning or being in charge of dog

(1)  A person against whom an order disqualifying the person from owning or being in charge of a dog is made under section 23 may appeal to the District Court, in accordance with the rules of that Court, against the order.
(2)  An appeal may be made only within 28 days after the date on which the order is made.
(3)  An appeal that is duly lodged operates to stay the order of disqualification pending the determination of the appeal.
(4)  The District Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine an appeal made under this section.

Division 2 Liability for injury or death caused by dog

25   Liability for injury to person or damage to personal property

(1)  The owner of a dog is liable in damages in respect of:
(a)  bodily injury to a person caused by the dog wounding or attacking that person, and
(b)  damage to the personal property of a person (including clothing) caused by the dog in the course of attacking that person.
(2)  This section does not apply in respect of:
(a)  an attack by a dog occurring on any property or vehicle of which the owner of the dog is an occupier or on which the dog is ordinarily kept, but only if the person attacked was not lawfully on the property or vehicle and the dog was not a dangerous dog, menacing dog or restricted dog at the time of the attack, or
(b)  an attack by a dog that is in immediate response to, and is wholly induced by, intentional provocation of the dog by a person other than the owner of the dog or the owner’s employees or agents.
(3)  This section does not apply in respect of a police dog or a corrective services dog.
(4)  This section does not affect the liability apart from this section of any person for damage caused by a dog.

26   Continuation of liability when person dies from dog attack

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.

27   Liability for injury to animal

(1)  The owner of a dog is liable in damages in respect of injury (whether or not fatal) to another animal (whether or not a dog, but other than vermin) caused by the dog attacking or chasing it.
(2)  This section does not apply in respect of:
(a)  a dog attacking or chasing another animal on any property or vehicle of which the owner of the dog is an occupier or on which the dog is ordinarily kept, but only if the dog is not a dangerous dog or menacing dog under this Act at the time of the incident, or
(b)  a dog attacking or chasing another animal in the course of droving, tending, working or protecting stock, or
(c)  a dog attacking or chasing another animal where the attacking or chasing is in immediate response to, and is wholly induced by, intentional provocation of the dog by a person other than the owner of the dog or the owner’s employees or agents, or
(d)  a dog attacking or causing injury to another animal, where its doing so is in immediate response to, and is wholly induced by, an attack on the dog made by the other animal.
(3)  This section does not affect the liability apart from this section of any person for damage caused by a dog.

28   Contributory negligence

(1)  When damage suffered by a person that gives rise to a liability on the part of the owner of a dog to pay damages under this Division is the result partly of contributory negligence on the part of the person who suffers the damage, the damage is, for the purposes of Part 3 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1965, taken to have been suffered as the result partly of a wrong by the owner of the dog and partly of the contributory negligence of the person who suffered the damage.
(2)  This section does not affect the operation of Part 3 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1965 in respect of any liability for damage caused by a dog that arises otherwise than under this Division.
Top of page