Have you, or one of your loved ones, been bitten or threatened by a menacing dog? Dog attacks can be frightening and ferocious. Unfortunately, they are not all that uncommon. In just one year, for example, the Queensland government recorded 6,330 injuries from dog attacks alone.
This high number of dog attacks was recorded back at the beginning of 2000. As a result, Queensland brought in the regulated dog provisions of the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 (the Animal Management Act for short) to help manage dogs that are deemed potentially dangerous.
What is classified as a dog attack?
There are two types of offences for dog attacks, which the Animal Management Act classifies as:
- Encouraging a dog to attack or act in a threatening or menacing manner to another animal or human. If someone breaks this law, whether or not they are the dog owner, they can be prosecuted.
- Not taking responsible or reasonable steps to make sure the dog doesn’t attack other members of the community, including other animals, or enticing fear.
Penalties for dog attacks under the Animal Management Act
Depending on how severe the dog attack is, the dog owner, or the person responsible for the dog, can receive up to a $30,000 fine.
Owners can also be fined if they are proved to be negligent of the animal, with this negligence having led to an attack.
Unfortunately, sometimes this negligence can be difficult to prove because you generally have to show that the dog has an aggressive history and has previously been declared dangerous.
Going to court for dog attacks
If you’ve been harmed by a dog in an attack, you can take the matter to court. The court might decide to award compensation to you if the dog owner (called the defendant) is convicted.
Keep in mind that this action is different from a dog victim seeking compensation from the dog’s owner via civil action, which is independent of prosecution in the courts.
In Queensland, the state will prosecute a dog owner under criminal law and the dog owner can either be convicted for ‘scienter’ or negligence.
Scienter is when an owner knows they have a dangerous animal that they need to be responsible for in case of an attack or property damage, but don’t take this responsibility seriously.
Get Criminal Law Help Now!
Ask a free legal question in the Criminal Law Forum.
Get legal advice from an Australian Criminal Lawyer near you.