Dog Attacks

Reporting Dog Attacks

Around 60-80 reported dog attacks occur in Timaru District every year. Despite how well you think you know a dog or how friendly it looks, any dog is capable of attacking and causing serious harm.

All dog attacks should be reported to the Council's Animal Control team. Phone the Council on (03) 687 7200 (all hours).

If a dog has shown itself to be dangerous, the Council may take the following actions:

  • The dog owner could be issued a warning or infringement notice
  • Owners of dogs involved in a serious attack can be prosecuted
  • Dogs may be impounded and/or put down if they attack people or animals (including protected wildlife).
  • If your dog attacks any person, stock, poultry, domestic animal or protected wildlife you can be prosecuted and fined up to $3,000 if convicted, on top of any charges for any damages that occur.
  • Your dog will be required to wear a muzzle. If you breach that requirement you may be fined an additional $3,000 and the dog may be put down.
  • If any attack by your dog causes serious injury or death to a person or protected wildlife, you may be liable for a prison term of up to three years and/or a fine of $20,000. Your dog would also most likely be put down.
  • An Animal Control Officer, Dog Ranger or Police Constable can enter any premises to seize and impound a dog that is deemed to be threatening the safety of any person or animal.
  • The dog may classified as dangerous or menacing
  • An owner could be classified as probationary or disqualified from dog ownership

Preventing Attacks

Dogs can attack when they feel provoked or when they think their owner might be threatened. It's important to know how to behave around dogs:

  • Don't approach or run away from a dog
  • Don't use fast or sudden movements
  • Don't look directly into a dog's eyes or lean over them (these are dominant behaviours)
  • Always ask the owner first if you want to pat their dog

Always mind young children around dogs. If a dog appears threatening, back away slowly and try to keep a defensive barrier between you, but don't use anything as a weapon. If a dog attacks, and the skin has been broken or if the wound seems reasonably serious, seek medical attention immediately.