Dog Found at Large Between Sunrise and Sunset

Dog Found at Large Between Sunrise and Sunset is found in sections 24(1) and (2) of the Domestic Animals Act 1994 in Victoria. It is a criminal offence that is committed by a person who was an owner of a dog found “at large” – which means a dog found wondering out of its premises without its owner.

Note that a person is considered an “owner” even if they are just looking after the dog for a short time.

Have you been accused of Dog Found at Large Between Sunrise and Sunset?

Pleading Not Guilty

If you were not in control of the dog at the time they were found at large, or there is some other issue with the charge against you, our lawyers can represent you in a plea of not guilty. We can analyse the brief of evidence against you and strategise a defence on your behalf. We appreciate the risks involved with being charged and give frank advice about likely success and the risks involved with all possible options.

Pleading Guilty

A successful, effective plea of guilty to a charge of this kind would involve explaining to the court why the dog was found at large and what has been done to address the risk of it happening again. Our lawyers are best placed to achieve an excellent outcome for you by putting the offending into context and working with you to put the court’s mind at ease.


Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of VictoriaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Dog at Large Between Sunrise and Sunset in the Magistrates' Court of Victoria Between 2018 and 2021

Which court will the case be heard in?

Cases related to this offence will be heard at the Magistrates’ Courts.

Elements of the offence

The Prosecution must prove:

  • A dog is found wandering outside the premises of the owner or not securely confined to the owner’s premises; and
  • That the dog is found between sunrise and sunset or sunset and sunrise.
Examples of Dog Found at Large
  • Your pet dog has found a way to escape from your backyard and has done so while you are at work.
  • You have taken your dog for a walk during the evening and while you are talking on the phone you become separated from your dog. You are now no longer aware of your dogs whereabouts and it is found roaming some distance away.
  • Your dog can access the backyards of neighbouring houses and is not a welcome guest.

The legislation for this offence of dog found at large between sunrise and sunset is section 24 (1) and (2) of the Domestic Animals Act 1994.


Defences to this charge may relate to who is in apparent control of the dog or other issues about proof of the charges. The overall circumstances of a case will determine what will be an appropriate defence to the charge.

If you have been accused of this offence a lawyer would be useful if you were contesting the allegation on principal. The decision on whether you should contest or plead guilty to this charge can be best assessed by a criminal lawyer. Contact one to discuss your case. There is also the possibility of having a case such as this dealt with by way of diversion.

Maximum penalty for section 24 (1) and (2) of the Domestic Animals Act 1994

If your dog is found at large between sunrise and sunset (s24 (1) and (2) of the Domestic Animals Act 1994), you could be sentenced to a maximum of 6 penalty units which currently equates to $967.14. If your dog is found at large between sunset and sunrise, the offence carries a fine of 10 penalty units, which is currently equates to $1,611.90. The amount a penalty unit reflects inflation and is reevaluated each financial year.

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