Given an ongoing trend of dog attacks and increasing community concern, local governments are becoming increasingly active in prosecuting owners of dogs which attack or bite people or other animals. The Dog Act 1976 (WA) (“the Act”) contains a number of offences dealing with dog attacks. By the creation of various offences, the Act in effect imposes a number of onerous obligations on owners to ensure they properly control their dogs. For example, it is an offence under the Act where a dog attacks or chases a person or another animal.

Local governments are usually responsible for conducting prosecutions against owners of dogs involved in a dog attack which is reported. In more serious cases, local governments will usually also seek orders for the dog  to be destroyed. In less serious cases, including where minor bites occur, local governments may instead choose to issue an infringement notice to a dog’s owner rather than formally prosecute them.

If you are charged with an offence, it is important that you get legal advice at an early stage. We can assist with:

  • Advice and representation in defending charges including in circumstances where there are issues involving identification and provocation
  • Appearing on defended matters in the Magistrates Court
  • Advice on prospects of success, penalties and pleas in mitigation
  • Negotiating charges and the remission of destruction orders with prosecutors
  • Opposing destruction orders and dog seizures
  • Advising on civil liability
  • Advising in relation to dangerous dog declarations and obtaining merits review by the State Administrative Tribunal