Confine your dog

Dog behind fence and gateA dog of any size or breed can become aggressive when defending its territory. Even a friendly dog may guard the area on or around its property — especially when you are not present.

Dog attacks on people and other animals are reported to local councils each day.

Most dog attacks in public places occur on the footpath or road in front of the attacking dog's property.

Confining dogs to the property would prevent 80% of dog attacks in public places.

Reasons for confining your dog:

  • It is a legal requirement for dog owners
  • Prevents your dog from rushing or chasing someone
  • Prevent dog attacks in public places
  • Prevent your dog from wandering, roaming or getting lost
  • Prevent your dog from traffic injuries or fights with other dogs.

Find out more about your legal requirements as a dog owner.

Legal consequences if your dog rushes at or chases someone

If your dog rushes at or chases someone, you could be fined, and your local council can declare your dog to be a 'menacing dog'. This means you must update its microchip record and you may have to leash and muzzle it in public.

If you do not comply with these requirements, council can then declare your dog to be a 'dangerous dog'. There are very strict controls on the housing, exercise and ownership of dangerous dogs. Dangerous dogs must be desexed.

Legal consequences in the event of an attack on a person or another animal

You are liable if your dog attacks:

  • a person or animal outside your property
  • someone trying to get to your front door
  • someone who has been invited onto your property.

An attack by your dog can lead to court action. If convicted, owners can face substantial fines. This is in addition to damages, which may potentially be thousands of dollars.

In such situations, dogs are often ordered to be destroyed or declared dangerous. Strict ownership controls are imposed on dangerous dogs for the rest of their lives.

Additional laws apply to owners of dogs that are:

  • restricted breed
  • dangerous
  • guard
  • menacing
  • attack trained.

Owners of these types of dogs can be jailed:

  • for up to 10 years if their dog kills someone
  • for up to 5 years if their dog endangers someone's life

For more information or advice

Call your local council if you have questions about your rights and responsibilities as a dog owner. Your council will also deal with concerns about wandering or nuisance dogs.

Socialisation and exercise

Confining your dog without exercise and socialisation can lead to:

  • boredom
  • health issues
  • nuisance behaviour.
Page last updated: 01 Feb 2022