Dog attacks

How to report a dog attack

To report an attack on a person, animal or pet you can call:

The Dangerous Dogs Hotline

The Dangerous Dogs Hotline gives the community an additional way of reporting dangerous dogs.

The hotline 136 186 operates 8am to 6pm from Monday to Friday. You will be connected to our customer service centre. When prompted, select option 1 — to report an animal offence including a dangerous dog.

All reports of dangerous dogs are recorded and information is forwarded to the relevant local council.

Investigation and follow up

It is the Victorian Government's expectation that all dangerous dog reports received by local councils will be promptly investigated. Caller information will be provided to councils where hotline operators get consent to do so. If a caller's details are provided, it is expected local councils will follow up with the resident to let them know the outcome.

Preventing dog attacks

We have tips and information on preventing dog attacks in the home and preventing dog attacks in public.

Penalties for dog attacks

If your dog attacks a person or animal:

  • you may be liable for thousands of dollars in fines
  • your dog may be seized and euthanased
  • you may also have to pay compensation for any damage caused by your dog as ordered by the court.

If you set your dog to deliberately attack a person or animal you can be sentenced to a maximum of 6 months in prison.

If your dog attacks a person, endangering their life or causing death, you may be charged under the Crimes Act and face possible imprisonment of 5 or 10 years jail if your dog:

  • is already a declared dangerous dog
  • is a declared menacing dog
  • is a trained attack or guard dog
  • fits the restricted breed dog standard (registered or unregistered restricted breed dog).

Note: where the owner of a dog is under the age of 18 years, the parent or guardian of that owner is deemed the legal owner of the dog and subject to any penalties or prosecutions.

My neighbour's dog tries to jump the fence and attack me

This is a menacing dog offence. Contact your local council, who may:

  • declare the dog as menacing
  • review the confinement of the dog
  • order the owner to make better arrangements for its confinement.

A dog tries to attack me when I walk down the road

This is a menacing dog offence. Contact your local council, who may:

  • declare the dog as a menacing dog
  • apply restrictions to confine it properly
  • require the dog to be leashed and muzzled in public in future.

Further offences can lead to the dog being declared as dangerous with more severe restrictions applied.

I have been chased by a dog or menaced by a dog

All menacing offences should be reported to the local council for investigation, this includes if a dog:

  • bites you (noting a serious bite may lead the dog to be declared as dangerous)
  • chases you
  • menaces or rushes at you aggressively (approaches within 3 metres displaying aggression, snarling, growling or raised hackles).

Attempt to identify the owner by photograph or car registration number or observing where they reside.

I know of a dog that has been attacked

Phone the RSPCA 03 9224 2222 for advice and to report the incident:

  1. If a dog has been attacked by a person
  2. If a dog has been attacked by an animal (not another dog) if the animal is injured or the welfare of the dog should be protected or is at risk.

If your council doesn't investigate your reports

I you have made repeated complaints to council about a dangerous or attacking dog, but they have taken no action, you can complain to:

The Victorian Ombudsman has power to investigate such matters.

Telephone: 03 9613 6222

Toll Free: 1800 806 314 (regional only)

TTY via the National Relay Service
(a phone solution for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment) on 133 677 or 1300 555 727

Interpreter service: via telephone 131 450 or on-site 1300 655 082

Email: ombudvic@ombudsman.vic.gov.au

I am worried my dog might attack someone

If your dog is displaying aggressive behaviour, you must seek professional advice as soon as possible. You should:

  • have your dog checked by a vet for any health problems that might be contributing to the aggression
  • contact an animal behaviourist or dog trainer

For contact details, ask your vet, local council, animal shelter or dog club or association for advice, or search for 'Dog training' online.

We have information on obedience training (contacts and 'approved dog training organisations').

If you are concerned about people's safety around your dog:

  • keep your dog securely confined to your property
  • don't allow visitors to interact with your dog until you have resolved the aggression problem,
Page last updated: 24 Aug 2020