Animal complaints

If you need to report a dog attack or harassment, a barking dog or a stray dog or cat, we’re here to support you.

Dog attacks and harassment

If you have an encounter with a dog that’s aggressive, or that attacks or harasses you, it’s important to report the incident, so that we can help manage any dogs that may represent a risk to the community and other animals.

It’s an offence for a dog to attack, harass or chase a person, animal or bird owned by a person, whether or not actual injury is caused.

Dog attack FAQs

1. Seek medical or veterinary help

The first thing to do is consider the safety of yourself, your animal or anyone else involved. If needed, please seek medical or veterinary attention immediately after a dog attack.

2. Report the incident to us

We offer assistance with dog attacks and harassment seven days a week, 24 hours a day. When it's safe for you to do so, report the incident to us on 8405 6600.

3. Record as much information about the incident as you can

To assist the investigating Community Safety Officer, please keep your own notes detailing:

  • When and where the attack happened
  • As much information about the dog as you can gather, such as the identification or registration disc number, name, breed, colour, sex, estimated age and any other distinguishing markings
  • As much information about the owner as you can gather, such as gender, age, weight, height and hair colour, along with their name, address and contact number if they’re willing to provide this
  • The address from which the dog may have come
  • Vehicle details if a car was involved and the offender drove away with the dog – for example, the car registration number, make, model and colour
  • A description and photographs of any injuries to a person or animal
  • Plus, copies of medical documents, vet reports or doctor’s bills as evidence

Community Safety Officers will attend as soon as possible. They will:

  • Take a statement from everyone involved including any witnesses
  • Take photographs of any injuries to yourself or your animals
  • Interview the dog owner
  • Gather any other supporting evidence
  • Assess the circumstances and evidence to decide whether any action is needed to prevent further attacks or harassments
  • Take any further appropriate action and inform all parties of the outcome

We may:

  • Take no action if there is insufficient evidence
  • Issue a warning
  • Expiate for offences of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995
  • Impose a Control Order such as a Nuisance, Menacing, Dangerous or Destruction Dog Order. Each order will have conditions to control the dog, such as leashing or muzzling requirements
  • Take direct court action
  • If you are present at the incident, restrain your dog. You have a duty of care for others and their animals, so check their welfare and support them to access the services they may require
  • Exchange contact details so you can discuss any ongoing matters after the incident
  • Investigate reasons as to why your dog may have reacted in a certain way. This may include engaging an animal behaviourist or consulting with your local vet
  • If your dog had escaped your property, investigate how and make any changes to prevent this from happening in the future
  • If your dog was off-lead in a park or on the foreshore, consider whether your dog is well socialised to interact with other dogs and people. Keeping your dog on lead may be appropriate
  • Co-operate with any investigations to make sure no incidents are repeated

Barking dogs

Have a problem with a barking dog? Neighbours can help each other to solve barking problems by communicating their concerns and needs with each other.

The dog’s owner may not realise that the barking is causing an annoyance to other people. This may be because:

  • The dog may only bark excessively when the owner isn’t home
  • The owner may not hear the barking from various areas within the house
  • The owner may be a very sound sleeper and may not wake up when the dog barks

Approaching the dog’s owner should be the first step when the problem arises. State your case clearly and politely; the owner may not be aware of the barking situation.

If the dog owner is unapproachable or if you’re not comfortable approaching them, try writing a letter using the ‘Dear Neighbour’ template' and placing it in their letterbox.

Barking dog FAQs

If you can’t resolve the barking via neighbour communication, you can report the barking dog to us. Make sure you include as much detail as possible about the dog, its barking and the owner, so that our Community Safety Officers have enough information when they have preliminary discussions with the dog owner.

We’ve found that early intervention and communication from one of our Community Safety Officers can often resolve the problem without the need for a formal investigation, which is a more desired outcome for all parties involved.

If the barking can’t be resolved after preliminary discussions, then we’ll need to conduct a formal investigation. You’ll need to complete and send us a complaint form, which you can request by calling us on 8405 6600. You may also need to complete a 14-day barking diary.

If both the dog owner and complainant acknowledge a barking problem, we may also assist with training providers, as the underlying reason for barking may be more than a behavioural problem and could be anxiety or health related. Consulting with a vet is always recommended.

Our Community Safety Officers will:

  • Study the complaint forms and 14-day diaries to establish barking patterns in an attempt to try to determine the reason for the dog’s barking
  • Confirm that other nominated residents are being affected by the dog’s barking by a survey
  • Advise the dog owner of the complaint, discuss possible solutions and inform them of their responsibilities

If the Community Safety Officer believes there’s a problem with the dog, they will work with the owner until they believe that the owner has done everything possible to help correct the barking behaviour.

If the dog owner refuses to co-operate, the process becomes more formal. We have the power to expiate (fine) or serve a Control (Barking Dog) Order (a legal document) on the dog owner to force them to take reasonable steps to abate the barking.

After this time, we may request that you and other affected neighbours complete further barking diaries or provide feedback throughout the investigation. The outcome may be different in each case and we'll keep all parties updated with any outcomes.

If our investigations don’t determine a nuisance barking problem, this doesn’t limit or negate your civil rights to seek relief. For further advice, you may wish to contact one of the following:

Stray dogs

If you see a stray dog, try to contain the animal and give us a call on 8405 6600 as soon as possible. (If you call after hours, you’ll be transferred to our after-hours service.) If you can’t contain the animal, make a note of the dog’s description and location. If the dog looks scared or aggressive, don’t approach it.

It’s really important that you don’t keep any stray dogs, as they might have already been reported missing by their worried owners.

Stray and nuisance cats

If an unwelcome cat enters your property and you know where it’s come from, we recommend talking to your neighbour face to face to try and fix the problem. If you treat the issue as a shared problem and work together on finding a solution, you’re likely to achieve a positive result.

If you don’t know which property the cat belongs to or if you don’t have any luck talking to your neighbour, give us a call on 8405 6600. Alternatively, you can give the Animal Welfare League a call on 8348 1300 to book an AWL Retrieval Crate (cage) to contain a stray cat on your property in a safe and humane way. The cat will then enter AWL’s care.

Deceased animals

We’re responsible for removing dead animals from City of PAE properties, roads, footpaths and reserves. Please call 8405 6600 if you see a dead animal on council property. The State Government's Department of Planning and Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) are responsible for removing dead animals on main arterial roads. Please note that we don’t remove dead animals from private property.