Dogs & the Law

There are over 1.2 million dogs in NSW.

The connection between dogs and humans is a beautiful and complex relationship that can sometimes go wrong for many reasons.

The Companion Animals Act and Regulation set the regulatory framework for the keeping of dogs in NSW.

There are significant penalties, the most significant being for a dog attack in circumstances where the dog is a dangerous dog, a menacing dog or a restricted dog with the maximum penalty being $77,000 and the potential to be jailed for up to 5 years.

In other words, the government believe these are very serious criminal offences that should punished accordingly.

Over the years, I have been involved in a significant number of prosecutions and appeals concerning dogs. I argued in the first instance, and on remitter, the most significant precedent for these types of matters – Council of the City of Lake Macquarie v Wayne Jeffrey Morris [2005] NSWSC 387 (

If you or someone you know have been served with any paperwork or even a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) in relation to your dog or other animal, there may be serious implications that you should be aware of before deciding how to respond.