Dog Attacks

Please seek medical or veterinary attention immediately after a dog attack as required.

Report a dog attack

When safe to do so, please report the dog attack to us on 8408 1111.

Time is a critical factor in reporting dog attacks, especially if the offending dog is still roaming at large.

Please collect as much detailed information about the incident as you can:

  • the date, time and exact location of the attack
  • description of the offending dog: registration disc, name tag, breed, colour, sex, markings, collar size and colour
  • description of the owner: name, address, phone number, male or female, age, hair colour, clothing
  • description of any vehicles and registration numbers
  • description and photographs of any injuries on you or your pet

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

  • Community Safety Officers will attend as soon as possible if contacted at the time of the dog attack;
  • A statement is usually taken from all personnel involved in the attack including witnesses;
  • Photos may be taken of any injuries to yourself, or your animals;
  • The dog's owner will be contacted to get their side of the incident;
  • Officers may seek other evidence as applicable to the investigation;
  • Officers assess the circumstances and evidence and make a decision for action;
  • Council will then take the appropriate action, and;
  • Inform the parties of the outcome.

Dog owners are responsible for their 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. This is under the Dog & Cat Management Act, 1995.

  • Issue a warning;
  • Impose an on the spot fine of $315;
  • Take direct court action (in more serious cases);
  • Impose a control order (Nuisance, Dangerous Dog, Menacing Dog, or Destruction Order), and;
  • The maximum penalty for a dog attack is $2,500.

There are many reasons why a dog might bite, including fear, pain or confusion when interacting with others. Please remember that all dogs, regardless of their size, can bite and deserve to be taken seriously. Ignoring signs of fear, stress, anxiety or aggression can result in serious injury to you, a member of your family, or others.

You can help reduce the risk of your dog biting by:

  • Socialising your dog appropriately and safely from a young age, to a variety of people, animals, places and surfaces.
  • Learning how to read your dog’s body language – your dog uses their body to communicate how well they’re coping. Watch them closely to gauge how they’re feeling. Complete our Dog Body Language Quiz to see how well you know your dog.
  • Training using RSPCA SA endorsed training methods can help you learn about your dog, teach them polite manners in public and increase your relationship with them. Training classes are also a good place to raise concerns you may have with your dog outside of class.
  • Avoiding situations that may cause your dog to become nervous or anxious.
  • Asking a qualified dog trainer or behavioural trainer for advice if your dog shows any signs of aggression or fear toward people.

Desexing your dog by 6 months of age is a requirement under the law, but may also help reduce aggression or fear related behaviours.

You can find out more about appropriate socialisation, body language, dog behaviour and training, managing kids and dogs, and preventing dog bites in our Animal Management Kit.