We all love our dogs, but if not properly controlled, dogs represent both a safety risk and a liability risk. In WA, the West Australian Dog Act 1976 governs the welfare and control of dogs. It is designed to protect dogs from neglect and to protect people from dogs. Thanks to the Dog Act, it can be very costly for a dog owner to subject a dog to abuse or neglect or to subject the public to undue risk. Dog owners can also be responsible for personal injury claims if their dog injures someone.
For legal purposes, any dog is considered potentially dangerous regardless of breed. Consequently, all rules and regulations regarding dogs apply to all breeds.
When you take your dog out in public, it must be on a leash, with the exception of “dog exercise areas.” However, the owner is still responsible for their dog, even in a dog exercise area. Council rangers are allowed to impose a $100 infringement notice for dogs that are found wandering or being walked off leash in a public place. Rangers have the discretion to give a warning to a first offender, but don’t count on a Ranger’s generosity when it’s easier to just put your dog on a leash.
Dog Exercise Areas
While your dog is allowed to be unleashed in a dog exercise area, it still must be deemed “under effective control.” While many dog exercise areas are virtually self-policing, it is wise to make sure that your dog doesn’t represent a hazard to other dogs or to people.
Infringement notices can be costly. If your dog is unregistered, in a public place without tags, not on a leash or causing a nuisance, you can be fined $200. For more serious offences, such as inciting a dog to attack or doing harm to a dog, you can be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned for up to 12 months.
If your dog kills someone, you can face manslaughter charges.
Have You Been Injured by a Dog?
If you have been injured by a dog, you may file a personal injury claim. If your dog has injured someone else, you may be liable. Call our Perth office today and talk to one of our compensation lawyers on (08) 9316 2299.