Aggressive Dog Behaviour

This page tells you how to report a dog for agressive behaviour.

Dogs are descended from the wolf and they sometimes show behavioural traits we associate with wild animals. Dogs may bite when they are frightened, injured, threatened or when they attempt to be dominant or territorial. Usually, biting is a result of poor training and socialisation, or the owner's lack of control over the dog.

Biting is not acceptable behaviour and can result in serious consequences for the dog, its owner and the victim.

Under the Dog Control Act 1996, dogs responsible for attacks on people or other animals can be seized and/or destroyed. The dog owner can be charged with an offence under the Act and may be liable on summary conviction to a fine. In addition, the owner is also liable for any damages caused by the dog. The dog may be classified as either Menacing or Dangerous and must comply with the obligations of these classifications, and in a worst-case scenario, may be destroyed.

Making a Complaint

If you have been a victim of, witness to or are the owner of an aggressive or dangerous dog, or a dog that has attacked, you should advise Animal Control of any incident as soon as it occurs by calling Council on 03 543 8400.  This number may be called 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

You will be asked for the following details:

  • your name, address and phone number
  • the address of the dog you are reporting
  • the date, time and location of the attack
  • details of the dog – breed, colour, sex and any distinguishing features
  • details of the incident and if you are prepared to make an official statement.

The names and addresses of the dog owner and any witnesses should be obtained. If the dog owner leaves the incident without supplying these details, you should note their appearance and vehicle registration number.

The address of the offending dog is important for an Animal Control Officer to make contact. If the owner is not present, the offending dog should be followed to obtain its home address. Follow the dog with a reasonable distance between you – do not chase or call it.

All details, medical reports and marked clothing from the attack should be kept as evidence to build a case against the owner.