Dog attacks

Dogs that are considered dangerous or menacing (that is, that are considered to have a propensity to attack even though they may not have attacked at that point in time) may be the subject of control or destruction orders. A Destruction Order will require the dog the subject of the order to be destroyed within the time period specified in the order. Failure to comply with such an order has a penalty of $2 500.

A Control (Dangerous Dog) Order will require that:

  • the dog be desexed
  • the dog be identified by an implanted microchip
  • the dog, whilst on the premises of the person who is responsible for the control of the dog, be kept indoors or in an enclosure from which the dog is unable to escape
  • the dog at all times wear a collar
  • the dog, whilst not on the premises of the person who is responsible for the control of the dog, be muzzled and under the effective control of a person by means of physical restraint
  • warning signs be prominently displayed at the premises where the dog is kept
  • both the dog and the person responsible for the control of the dog complete an approved training course
  • all reasonable steps are taken to prevent the behaviour that gave rise to the Order reoccurring

Penalty for not complying $2 500

A Control (Menacing Dog) Order requires that:

  • the dog be identified by an implanted microchip
  • the dog, whilst on the premises of the person who is responsible for the control of the dog, be kept indoors or for the premises to be fenced so as to prevent the dog from escaping the premises
  • the dog at all times wear a collar
  • the dog, whilst not on the premises of the person who is responsible for the control of the dog, be muzzled and under the effective control of a person by means of physical restraint
  • all reasonable steps are taken to prevent the behaviour that gave rise to the Order reoccurring

Penalty for not complying $2500

A person who suffers injury or damage may be able to claim compensation. For discussion on whether owners are responsible for injuries caused by their dogs, see accidents involving animals.

An example of a case discussing damages for injury received as a result of a dog attack is Boothey v Morris [2002] SASC 126. The plaintiff in this case suffered a serious injury to her hand which affected her capacity to work as a massage therapist. She was bitten by the defendant’s dog when talking to the defendant. The dog was on a short leash and sitting next to the defendant. The plaintiff reached out her hand to the dog to enable it to smell her. A conversation followed between the two women during which time the plaintiff left her hand near the dog. As she withdrew her hand, the dog lunged at her and bit her hand. The plaintiff had not made any excessive noise or sudden movements. Neither woman had any warning of the attack. The plaintiff also claimed to have suffered psychological damage as a consequence of the attack. The original amount awarded in judgment was revised on appeal and an amount of $211 607.01 was awarded.

Dog attacks  :  Last Revised: Fri Apr 30th 2010
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.
Link to sa.gov.au - find what you're looking for

© Legal Services Commission - All Rights Reserved
Funded with the support of the Governments of Australia and South Australia Website by CeRDI