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Dog Attacks

What to do if a dog attacks

After a dog attack, you should seek medical or veterinary treatment as a priority.

When safe to do so, you must report the attack to Council by contacting our Animal Management team on 0412 597 291.

Report the incident ASAP

Like all serious incidents, time is a critical factor in dealing with dog attacks.  This is especially important if the offending dog is wandering at large and still poses a risk to the public or other animals.  To help Council’s Authorised Officers, please try to gather the following information before contacting us:

  • the date, time and exact location of the attack.  If you’re not sure, use your GPS equipped smart phone to check on a map
  • a description of the offending dog - registration disc, name tag, breed, colour, sex, markings, collar size and colour
  • a description of the owner - name, address, contact phone number, male or female, age, hair colour, clothing
  • if a car was involved and the offender drove away with the dog - car registration number, make, model, colour
  • a description and photographs of any injuries and location on your body or your pet's body.

You should also keep copies of any medical certificates, vet or doctor bills as evidence.

What happens when a dog is reported?

  • authorised Council investigators may take a statement or affidavit from you
  • photos may be taken of any injuries to yourself, or your animals or birds
  • the dog's owner may be contacted to get their side of the incident
  • investigators could seek witness statements and other evidence
  • investigators assess the circumstances and evidence and make a decision for action
  • Council will then issue legal notices as required, and;
  • inform the parties of the outcome.

Who is responsible?

You are responsible for your dog’s actions.  It is an offence for a dog to attack, harass or chase a person, another animal or a bird owned by a person.

Find out more from the Dog and Cat Management Act, 1995

Depending on the severity of the attack, Council can:

  • issue a warning
  • impose an on the spot fine of $210 ($315 after 1 July 2017)
  • take direct court action (in more serious cases)
  • impose a control order (Nuisance, Dangerous Dog, Menacing Dog, or Destruction Order)
  • the maximum penalty for a dog attack is $2,500.

If you have any questions contact Council on 8621 2300.

For more information on being a good dog owner, visit the Dog and Cat Management Board website .

Bite Avoidance

All dogs have the potential to bite irrespective of their breed, gender, temperament or history. Strategies for reducing the potential for dogs to bite include appropriate breed selection, early socialisation, training, desexing of dogs and educating the community on body language displayed by dogs. Dogs may also bite as a result of being teased, rough playing, interfering with feeding or bitches with pups.

Always supervise children when a dog is present and teach children to ask the owner if it is okay to pat their dog. They should then present the dog with a clenched fist to sniff, then stroke the dog gently under the chin. When faced with a dog you believe may be threatening never run, scream or look the dog in the eye. The best thing is to stand still and be calm, look down and back away slowly. A dog which is displaying aggressive or dominant characteristics such as growling, baring teeth or showing its hackles wants to win and by challenging the dog you risk making the situation more threatening.

City of Port Lincoln
City of Port Lincoln ABN: 80 776 127 243
PO Box 1787, PORT LINCOLN SA 5606
Level One, Civic Centre, 60 Tasman Terrace, Port Lincoln
Telephone: 08 8621 2300 | Fax: 08 8621 2399 | Email:
City of Port Lincoln ABN: 80 776 127 243
PO Box 1787, PORT LINCOLN SA 5606
Level One, Civic Centre,
60 Tasman Terrace, Port Lincoln
Telephone: 08 8621 2300 | Fax: 08 8621 2399
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