A man in his 40’s was going for his morning run along a footpath in the suburb in which he lives when a dog ran out at him from a yard and bit him on the leg.

The gate was usually closed, and the dog was usually restrained, but not on this morning.  The man attended the hospital emergency rooms, where the wound required stitches and antibiotics.  He experienced nightmares and required psychological counselling.  There was permanent scarring to his leg.

The man successfully pursued a claim for compensation.  He was reimbursed all of his medical costs, his lost wages, and was paid a lump sum for pain and suffering.   He also received a contribution toward his legal costs.

A woman was cycling along the linear park bike track when she saw a dog on her left, running toward her bike.  The dog stopped just before it reached her bike, but the woman braked hard, expecting that it would continue running and collide with her bike.  She fell and badly fractured her right leg.  She required surgery, and 3 months rehabilitation, and lost wages during her time away from work.

She successfully pursued a claim for compensation.  Her medical expenses were reimbursed; she received full payment of wages lost, a lump sum for pain and suffering, and an amount for the assistance provided by family members during her rehabilitation.  She recovered the bulk of her legal costs.

I recently read in the newspaper about 3 terrier-cross dogs setting upon a man walking his dog in the evening in Redwood Park.  The man and his dog were both treated for injuries, and the 3 dogs were seized by the council.

The man would clearly have a claim for compensation under the Dog and Cat Management Act.

If a dog has caused you injury, loss, or damage, you probably have an entitlement to compensation under the Dog and Cat Management Act.  That Act makes the owner of a dog responsible for injury, loss or damage caused by the dog, and it is not necessary for the injured person to prove that the dog owner was negligent or at fault.  The owner is responsible for injury, whether by direct bite, or indirectly through the actions of their dog.

The dog owner might only be partially responsible, or not responsible at all, if:

  1. The dog was provoked.
  2. The injury was caused by another dog/animal attacking the dog.
  3. The dog was being used in reasonable defence of a person or property.
  4. The dog was in the possession of, and being controlled by, someone else without the owner’s consent.
  5. The injured person contributed in some way to the injury.

Things to do if you are injured by, or as a result of, a dog’s actions:

  1. Identify the owner of the dog.
  2. If the owner is not around, ask anyone nearby if they know the dog’s owner.  Contact the council and describe the dog and the location of the attack.  The council may be able to assist in identifying the owner.
  3. Obtain names and contact details from anyone who witnessed the incident.
  4. Consult your doctor/hospital if necessary and describe the incident.
  5. Report the incident at your local Police Station.
  6. Photograph your injuries and the location of the incident.
  7. As soon as possible write down a description of the dog, and everything you can remember about the incident.

Compensation to which you may be entitled:

  • Reimbursement of medical expenses.
  • An amount for pain and suffering.
  • An amount for loss of wages.
  • Reimbursement of legal costs.

For further information please contact Emma on 8362 6400 or email Emma MarinucciJoin our mailing list to receive updates and advice on current issues.


  • Emma Marinucci

    About the author: Emma Marinucci

    Emma specialises in wills and deceased matters including disputed wills, contested estates and inheritance claims.

    Emma is a compassionate and skilled lawyer dedicated to her clients. Emma’s sole focus is to ensure that her clients receive the very best outcome possible.

    Call on 8362 6400 or .

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