Dangerous dogs

Reporting dog attacks

If you witness a dog attack a person or an animal or have been attacked by a dog yourself, you should report it by contacting Cessnock City Council on (02) 4993 4100 or the police.

All attacks should be reported: whether they happened on a public or private property.

Council's Rangers investigate reports and have the authority to seize animals. To assist the investigation, you should record as much detail as you can, including:

  • the date, time and location of the attack
  • a description of the attacking dog
  • a description of the person in control of the dog
  • the vehicle registration number
  • photographs relating to the incident (if safe to do so)

You'll be required to make a statement and may be required to testify in court should the matter proceed to that stage.

Can I seek compensation?

Liability for your injuries or damage to property is a civil matter in which Council can't get involved. You may wish to seek independent legal advice.

Dangerous and menacing dogs

Council has, under the Companion Animals Act 1998, the authority to issue penalties and declare a dog as dangerous or menacing.

Owners of a dog declared as dangerous or menacing must comply with control requirementsFailure to comply can result in the seizure of the animal and penalties being issued. 

Read the Dangerous Dogs Fact Sheet(PDF, 240KB).

Revocation of Dangerous or Menacing Dog Declarations Policy

Council's Revocation of Dangerous or Menacing Dog Declarations Policy allows the owner of a dog declared as dangerous or menacing under the Companion Animals Act 1998 to apply to Council for the declaration to be removed 12 months after the declaration has been issued.

Revocations will only be granted to applicants who can show their dog has undergone behavioural training and is no longer a threat to the community. As such, the application must be supported by a Current Temperament Assessment provided by a qualified Animal Behaviourist. An adjudication panel will then assess the application and make a recommendation to Council's Authorised officers for final determination. 

Contact Council Customer Relations on 4993 4100 for more information.

Annual permits for restricted breed and dangerous dogs

From 1 July 2020, you will be required to get an annual permit if you own a dog of a restricted breed or declared dangerous. 

Visit the Office Local Government website for details, including fees.