All reports of attacks on a person or animal, as well as other incidents of dog attacks in the Hawkesbury Local Government Area will be investigated by Council Officers. To progress with any case, the actual attack must have been witnessed, and the animals or the address they live at is able to be identified. The witness of the attack must be willing to complete a statement and appear in court as a witness for Council, if necessary.
Just sighting a dog on a property when there is a dead animal present is not sufficient evidence, nor is having dogs continually entering a property, and then assuming the attack was caused by these dogs. The standard of proof for a dog attack is the criminal standard of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. Therefore, the dog/s are witnessed rushing at, attacking, biting, harassing or chasing any person or animal (other than vermin), whether or not any injury is caused to the person or animal.
Council does not have the power to ask someone to destroy their animal after an attack. The Court is the only authority who can order an owner to destroy their animal.
Council can declare a dog dangerous or menacing, following which, the owner must abide by the Companion Animal Act and Regulations, which places restrictions on owning a declared dangerous or menacing dog. The restrictions must be complied with, or they can surrender the animal to Council. A dog declared as dangerous or menacing cannot be transferred to another person/owner.
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