Dog Attacks

What's a dog attack?

According to the Dog Act 1976, a dog attack may include any of the following behaviours towards another person or animal;
  1. aggressively rushing at or harassing any person or animal; or
  2. biting, or otherwise causing physical injury to, a person or an animal; or
  3. tearing clothing on, or otherwise causing damage to the property of, the person attacked; or
  4. attempting to attack, or behaving in such a manner toward a person as would cause a reasonable person to fear physical injury,
  5. Applicable unless the owner establishes that the behaviour was justified by a reasonable cause. The dog does not have to cause injury for a dog attack offence to have occurred.
Although there are a variety of reasons dogs may attack other dogs and humans, there are a number of animalistic instincts that may lead to aggressive behaviour in dogs. These include trauma/ anxiety, territory, pain, noise and fear. 
Why dog attacks occur- trauma/ anxiety, fear, territory, pain, noise

What can I do to prevent a dog attack?

If you own a dog, it is your responsibility to ensure it is contained on your private property and that you have it under effective control when in public areas.

Please do the following to prevent further attacks:

  • Check your fencing to ensure your dog cannot get out

  • Train your dog to come back when called

  • Have control of your dog when on a lead, using a harness if needed

  • Socialise your dog to decrease aggression, fear or anxiety of other dogs and people

  • De-sex your dog

  • Supervise your dog around kids- running, yelling, hitting or pulling on a dog’s fur will increase the risk of a dog attack.

What to do if a dog attack occurs

The City treats attacks very seriously and investigates all reports of a potential dog attack. If you or your dog are involved in a dog attack, seek appropriate medical or veterinary attention immediately and then contact the City’s Rangers on (08) 9411 3444.

To assist with the investigation, try to obtain as much information as you can. This includes:

  • Description of the dog or dog owner, including physical features, clothing, their vehicle, and what direction they came from/ went

  • Your dog’s description

  • Witness information/ statement

  • Photos of any injuries sustained

  • Location, date, and time of incident

  • Medical and veterinary documentation (if applicable)


The outcome of a dog attack can include infringements, the dog being declared dangerous or destroyed and court prosecution.

What does the City do when a dog attack report is received?

  • Ensure the dog is no longer a threat to the community and the victim is safe

  • Contact the complainant and any witnesses and obtain a written statement

  • Contact the offending dog owner (if possible) and obtain a written statement

  • Compile a dog attack file and look at history of offending dog, assess the severity of the attack and compile evidence.

  • Mediate an outcome for all parties concerned.

The outcome, including court action, is at the City’s discretion and depends on several factors including the severity of the injuries, quality of evidence, animals’ history and more.

Dog obedience classes

The City of Cockburn offers a range of obedience classes for dogs, including beginner, advanced and aggressive/ reactive dogs several time a year.

Refer to the website or keep an eye out for the next session on Facebook for more information.

Related Pages



City of Cockburn
Whadjuk Boodja
9 Coleville Crescent,
Spearwood 6163

PO Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965

Office opening hours:
8.30am to 4.30pm
Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)

Language Support

Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaadatj dayin boodja, kep wer malayin. Ngalak kaadatj koora koora wer yeyi ngalang birdiya.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past, present and emerging.