Dog Rushes at Person – Person in Control
Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of Victoria
Elements of the offenceThe Prosecution must prove:
- The dog chased or charged someone
- That the offender had apparent control of the dog
Examples of Dog Rushes at Person – Person in Control
- You run a dog-walking service, whereby people pay you to walk their dogs. You are walking someone else’s dog without a leash and they start running towards a stranger.
- Your friend asks you to mind their dog whilst they go inside the supermarket. You’re standing outside the supermarket with the dog on a leash, but the dog pulls away from you and chases a person, and you let go of the leash.
LegislationThe legislation for this offence of allow Dog or Cat to be a nuisance is section 29(7) of the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
The legislation also lists a number of specific defences. According to section 29(9), it is a defence to section 29(7) if the incident occurred because:
- the dog was being teased, abused or assaulted; or
- a person was trespassing on the premises on which the dog was kept; or
- another animal was on the premises on which the dog was kept; or
- a person known to the dog was being attacked in front of the dog.
Questions in cases like this
- Was the dog being teased by the victim? Or did the dog chase after them totally unprovoked?
- Was the victim on your premises without permission when the dog chased them?
- Did the dog really chase someone, or was it just approaching them in a playful manner?
- Were you being attacked by someone else, and your dog chased at the person in order to protect you?
- Was the dog in your apparent control, or was it a stray dog that you had no control of?
The offence of Dog Rushes at Person – Person in Control (s29(7) of the Domestic Animals Act 1994) carries a fine of 4 penalty units (around $644) as the highest possible penalty. Given this relatively low penalty it will usually be unnecessary to obtain legal representation. However, it may be important to talk to a lawyer if orders are being sought against the dog or if it has been in trouble before.
Further, if a person is found guilty of this offence, the court may order that the person pay compensation for any damage caused by the content of the dog (section 29(11)).