Keeping Your Dog on a Leash Laws in NSW

Sahar Adatia.


A six-year-old boy has suffered severe facial injuries after he was attacked by two dogs on the grounds of his school in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

Mahyar Tashnizi was bitten on the face at Baden Powell College in Tarneit not long after he arrived at school on Friday 29th October 2021.

The grade one boy was pounced on by two large stray dogs that had entered the school through a gate that had been left open.

It is understood one of the dogs was a German Shepherd, while the one that bit the child was big enough to fit most of the little boy’s face in its mouth.

At the time of the attack, one of Mahyar’s fellow students bravely tried to frighten away the dogs by making loud noises.

Mahyar was rushed to the Royal Children’s Hospital where he underwent surgery after enduring facial lacerations.


Fate of Two Dogs Who Attacked Boy Unknown

The two dogs who attacked the young boy were seized on the day by police and rangers after being spotted on CCTV near the school, and were being kept by the Wyndham City Council.

While it is understood the dogs are registered, their fate remains unknown.

In the aftermath of the incident, Mahyar spoke of his attack, describing how the dog mauled his face.

“He jumped and pushed me and quickly bit my face and ran off,” Mahyar said.

“I was pretty scared.”

Mahyar said the dog bite “really hurted (sic) me,” adding that his friend was making “vampire” and “dinosaur” noises to try to drive away the dogs.

Meanwhile, the six-year-old’s mother expressed concern that the attack could have potentially blinded her son.

Now, the young boy’s family are demanding answers on how the dogs were allowed to get onto the school grounds to begin with.

The Education Department has responded advising the gates were open because at the time of the incident, school was about to start.

Keeping Your Dog on a Leash Laws in NSW

As a dog owner, you are held accountable if your dog attacks a person or another animal.

if you are in NSW, the law on this is set out in the Companion Animals Act 1988 and specifically under section 13, which states that when a dog is in a public place, there’s a responsibility to make sure it is under the effective control of a competent person by means of an appropriate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by or secured by the person.

Where this law is breached, the owner of the dog, or, if the owner is not present at the time of the offence and another person who is of or above the age of 16 years is in charge of the dog at that time – that other person, will be guilty of an offence and face up to a $1,100 fine.

Where the dog has not been declared a menacing or dangerous or restricted dog, the maximum penalty you can face is a fine of $1,100.

However, where the dog has been declared a menacing or dangerous or restricted dog, the maximum penalty you can face increases to a fine of $11,000.

It should also be noted that under the Companion Animals Act 1998, authorised officers – which include council officers and police officers – have widespread powers to be able to suitably deal with owners of attacking dogs.

This includes being allowed to enter part of a property that is not used exclusively for residential purposes and seize a dog.

For specific advice, speak to one of our criminal lawyers Sydney team.


What Should You Do If You Are Attacked by A Dog or See A Dog Attack A Person or Animal?

 The NSW Government advises that if you are attacked by a dog, or witness a dog attack a person or animal, irrespective of whether the incident took place on public or private property, you are required to report it to your local council.

Where the attack takes place outside local council hours, you should call your local police station.

Additionally, under the Companion Animals Act 1998 (NSW), police officers – deemed authorised officers – have the power to manage owners of attacking dogs and seize the dogs that have carried out the attack.

In fact, in certain circumstances, police officers and authorised council officers are allowed to enter part of a property that is not used solely for residential purposes and seize a dog.

These circumstances include where the owner gives consent, or the dog has attacked or bitten an animal or person and the owner is not present, or the dog has attacked or bitten an animal or person and the owner cannot bring the dog under effective control.

Police officers and authorised council officers are also allowed to enter the part of a property used solely for residential purposes by means of a search warrant or where the owner gives consent.

Authorised officers are also allowed to seize a dog at any time within 72 hours of an attack if the owner does not keep the dog adequately secured or where the officer has reasonable grounds to assess that the dog will not be kept under effective control.

If a dog has been seized, the authorised officer is required to give the owner a notice stating the reason for seizing it and the place the dog is being held.

The intention of this part of the Companion Animals Act 1998 (NSW) is to endow authorised officers the power to bring under control a dog that has attacked and is at risk of continuing to cause a threat to the safety of the public.

In certain circumstances also, restricted dogs, proposed restricted dogs and declared dangerous or menacing dogs can also be seized and removed from a property.

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