As a pet owner, you are liable if your pet attacks a person or another animal. Visit the Dogs Victoria 'The Law For Dog Owners' page for more information.
All dogs, whatever their size and breed, are territorial by nature. They will seek to defend the territory on and around their property. Every day, municipal councils around Victoria receive reports of dogs attacking people or other animals. An attack means the dog rushes, chases or bites another animal or person. Over 80 per cent of all dog attacks in public places occur close to the property boundary of the house where the offending dog lives.
Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, all dog owners are required to adequately confine their dog to their property. If your dog is on your property but not adequately confined, you are breaking the law. This means your yard must have an escape-proof secure fence and a closed gate.
Legally you are required to provide safe access to your front door. Visitors to your home must be able to enter your property safely, without being stopped by your dog. The only way to ensure your dog is properly confined is to lock it in the backyard of your property.
Legal Consequences of an Attack
If your dog threatens or attacks someone who is either outside your property or trying to access your front door, you are legally and financially responsible for all damages resulting from the attack.
Other Reasons to Confine your Dog in the Backyard
Apart from the legal and financial consequences resulting from an incident involving your dog, an attack can be distressing for everyone involved, especially when serious injuries result. If securely confined, your dog will be safe from fights with other dogs, and will be prevented from wandering, becoming lost or being injured by passing traffic.
So for everyone's safety - including your dog's - and to comply with your legal responsibilities as a dog owner, keep your pooch locked behind a secure fence in the backyard. If every dog owner takes this simple step, over 80 per cent of dog attacks will not happen, and that's good news for the reputation of your pets, and for all responsible dog owners.
Confine Your Dog - Backyard is Best
Advice and further information
If you have any questions regarding your rights and responsibilities as a dog owner, or wandering or nuisance dogs phone 1300 322 322. A complete listing of relevant pet organisations with their contact details can be viewed through the State Government's Responsible Pet Ownership Program.
The Lost Dogs Home encourages prospective pet owners to conduct the Pet Licence 101 online quiz. This is a FREE educational tool to assist prospective pet owners to learn more about dog and cat welfare, responsible pet ownership matters and the relevant local government requirements of owning a pet.
Please Respect Sporting Teams
Many reserves used for off-leash exercise for dogs are also used by local sports teams. Please be considerate of everyone and:
- Pick up after your dog
- Use alternative areas to exercise your dog when training, games or line-marking are underway
- Dogs must be on-leash within 10 metres of an organised sporting event, children’s playground and barbecue/picnic area
Owners are always required to carry an appropriate bag or container to pick up your dog’s waste. Council can fine dog owners who fail to follow these rules. You are responsible for your pet’s behaviour.
Cats are highly valued pets in nearly 30 per cent of Australian households. Highly adaptable and flexible, cats fit into domestic life and routines easily and comfortably. They are however, predators by nature and will go looking for mates, defend territory and hunt wildlife, particularly during dusk to dawn. All cat owners in Frankston City are required to secure their cat indoors between dusk and dawn.
Dangers of roaming cats at night
The hours between dusk and dawn are when your cat is most likely to:
- Attack wildlife such as birds and damage the environment
- Get hit by passing traffic
- Be injured, or injure another cat in a fight
- Transmit diseases such as feline AIDS as a result of fighting
- Spray, howl and annoy neighbours, especially during mating season
Confine your Cat
You can protect your cat, preserve the environment and minimise disruption to the community by ensuring your cat is confined indoors between dusk and dawn.
Cats do not have to roam. Providing their basic needs are met, cats live approximately three times longer when secured to their own property.
You can visit the DELWP website for information on Cat Enclosures and Cat Proof Fencing to help Cat owners with:
- Cat proof fencing (modifying existing fencing to make it cat proof, giving your cat access to either part or all of your backyard
- A cat enclosure attached to another structure (house or shed)
- Free standing cat enclosure
Helping your Cat Stay Home
If your cat normally has been allowed to wander the streets at night, the following steps may help ease transition into a new routine:
- Skip you cat's morning feed and call it in at the end of the day to be fed
- Secure your cat in your home, cattery, shed or other enclosed, dry and well aired space, such as the laundry, with a bed, water and kitty litter tray
- Provide a stimulating environment for your cat. This could include providing a scratching pole, toys, or an enclosed run (known as a 'modular run') via a window which allows your cat safe access to the garden and re-entry to the house/shed
Your cat may indicate it wants to go out again for the evening as it has done previously. In a few nights it will adjust to its new routine of coming in for the nightly meal, and will happily settle in for the evening.
Your Cat, Your Responsibility
If your cat wanders from your property and disrupts neighbours by spraying, howling, fighting or causing any other disturbance, your neighbour can complain to Council and request that you ensure your cat is confined to your property. If you do not take reasonable action as per Council's direction, you are liable to be fined and your cat can be impounded. If you cat will not stay on your property, you may need to confine it to an outdoor cattery or modular enclosure, or keep it indoors.
Advice and further information
For further information on how to care responsibly for your cat contact Council or visit the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) website.
Frankston City Council
30 Davey Street
P. 1300 322 322
After Hours Contact
1300 322 322 to report emergency matters including dog attacks or threatening animals.