Report a dog attack

Any dog, regardless of how well you know it or how friendly it appears to be, has the potential to attack and cause significant injury.

If a dog attacks

A dog attack is when a dog makes direct physical contact with a person, another domestic animal, poultry, stock or protected wildlife.

  • Treat the injury (dog or human)
  • If skin has been broken or if the wound seems reasonably serious, seek medical attention immediately.

Report the attack

Report all dog attacks to the Animal Services. This information is necessary for follow up with the dog owner. It also helps the Council monitor dog control issues in Lower Hutt.

It is best to report the attack by phoning our team on 04 570 6666

Council may ask for the following information:

  • Name and contact details of the person reporting the incident and witness details. Written statements may be requested from any person involved or present at the time of the incident.
  • Name and address details of the dog owner (if known)
  • Date and time of attack
  • Location of attack
  • Description and type of dog(s)
  • Any photos or video footage of the incident

The Animal Control Team will investigate the attack and interview people involved, including the dog owner(s) and people present during the incident. Written statements may also be requested as well as vet or GP records and invoices.

The officers will also require photos of any wounds sustained by a person or animal involved in the dog attack.

Report a dog attack

The law

If a dog is aggressive and intimidating, the Council may take the following actions:

  • issue a warning or infringement notice
  • file a prosecution (if the offence or harm is significant)
  • classify the dog as dangerous or menacing
  • impound the dog while a court decision is made
  • classify the owner as probationary or disqualify them from ownership.

There can be different outcomes to an investigation depending on the severity of the attack, the circumstances in which the attack occurred and the location at which it occurred. The animal control officer team will consider all factors and make an appropriate decision regarding the matter.

Preventing attacks

Dogs can attack when they feel provoked or when they think their owner might be threatened. It’s important to know how to behave around dogs, for example:

  • Always ask the owner first if you want to interact with their dog
  • Don't approach or run away from a dog
  • Don't approach dogs who are alone and tethered in public areas or on/in vehicles
  • Don't use fast or sudden movements
  • Don't look directly into a dog's eyes or lean over it (these are dominant behaviours)
  • Always mind young children around dogs.
  • If a dog appears threatening, and won't leave you alone, back away slowly and try to keep a defensive barrier (such as a backpack, wheelie bin or purse) between you.