Every dog has the potential to bite, regardless of whether or not you think your dog is friendly. As an owner you need to be aware of the legal obligations and consequences to you, should your dog attack people or other animals.
Some dogs have the predisposition to attack, some attack people for no obvious reason and some attack other animals or stock. Because dog attacks are common in New Zealand, we have special laws and bylaws that dog owners must be aware of in order to help prevent recurring attacks. Consequences of a dog being involved in an attack may include:
If a Dog Control Officer has good cause to suspect an offence against the Dog Control Act 1996 is being committed, they can enter any land or premises to inspect any dog appearing to be kept there, and if authorised by the Act, to seize and impound any dog on the land or premises. This does not include a dwelling house unless the officer is accompanied by a constable or is authorised by a District Court warrant.
Any person convicted of an offence under the Dog Control Act 1996 (apart from an infringement offence) or having received three or more infringement notices within a two-year period, may be classified as a probationary owner. This means:
Anybody with three or more infringement notices within a two-year period, or convicted of any offence under the Dog Control Act 1996, must be classified as a disqualified owner (unless the Council decides that disqualification is not warranted, or Probationary Ownership classification is made instead). This means that if a person is classified as a Disqualified Owner:
Classification as a Probationary or Disqualified Owner extends over New Zealand.