This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (state and federal industrial tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Causing Dog To Inflict GBH


In New South Wales it is an offence to do something which causes a dog to attack another person, causing that person really serious injury. The offence is known as causing dog to inflict grievous bodily harm. The maximum penalty for causing dog to inflict grievous bodily harm is 10 years imprisonment.

The Offence of Causing Dog to Inflict Grievous Bodily Harm

The offence of is contained in s 35A(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 and states:

A person who:

  • Has control of a dog, and
  • Does any act that causes the dog to inflict grievous bodily harm on another person, and
  • Is reckless as to the injury that may be caused to a person by the act,

is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

What Actions Might Constitute Causing Dog to Inflict GBH?

Examples of this offence include:

  • Tormenting a dog, getting the dog angry and directing the dog to attack a person; or
  • Letting a dangerous or aggressive dog that is barking incessantly at a person off its leash.

What the Police Must Prove

To convict a person the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That they had control of a dog;
  • That they did an act;
  • That the act caused the dog to inflict harm on another person;
  • That the harm amounted to grievous bodily harm (really serious injury); and
  • That either the accused intended for the dog to inflict grievous bodily harm or were reckless as to what injury might be caused to the person.

Possible Defences

A person charged with this offence may argue in their defence that:

  • They did not have control of the dog;
  • The dog did not cause harm that amounts to GBH;
  • They acted in self-defence;
  • They did not act intentionally or recklessly.

Jurisdiction

The offence will likely be dealt with in the Local Court, however the DPP or the defendant can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

WHERE TO NEXT?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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