Dog attacks

Small snarling dog with flattened ears and bared teeth.

What to do in case of a dog attack. This page also has tips you can teach your tamariki to reduce the chances of a dog attack, as well as information about what action Council can take.

What to do if you or your dog are attacked

Treat the injury

If you’ve been injured or bitten from the attack, seek medical attention immediately from your local GP or healthcare provider.

If your dog’s been injured or bitten from an attack, seek medical attention immediately from your local vet. 

Report the attack

Phone the Council to report the incident as soon as you can on 06 356 8199. Your call will be answered by our Call Centre who will take your complaint and ask you to give as much detail as possible about the offending dog, the owner, where the attack happened, how it happened, and what injuries you, your dog or anyone else has sustained.

Your complaint will then be forwarded to our animal management team, who will investigate the dog attack. 

What action Council can take after a dog attack

Our animal management officers respond to all dog attacks. Under the Dog Control Act 1996, Council may take the following actions after a dog attack:

  • Seize and impound the dog
  • Carry out an investigation with those involved to understand the complexity and severity of the attack
  • Issue a warning or infringement notice
  • File a prosecution (if the offence or harm is significant)
  • Classify the dog as dangerous or menacing.

How to reduce the chances of a dog attack

If a dog is showing signs of aggression and behaves as if they may attack, the lowest-risk response to an aggressive dog is to Stop. Stand. Leave. This is what you should teach your children:

  • Stop what you’re doing and stand still quietly with your hands by your side
  • Look down at your feet or the dog's feet and don’t make eye contact with the dog
  • Slowly back away from the dog, and when there is enough distance between you and the dog, walk away slowly and calmly.

If this situation escalates and the dog rushes at you, take the following steps to protect yourself:

  • Call loudly for help
  • Try to put any object between you and the dog – such as a bag, bike, ball, umbrella, clothing
  • If you’re knocked down, lie face down with your arms over the back of your head and stay still.

How to de-escalate a dog fight

If a fight breaks out between your dog and another dog:

  • Jerk the leash and yell “no” and “heel”. If the two dogs break apart, then you may be able to walk your dog away
  • Don’t attempt to reach for a collar or get your hands in between the dogs
  • If someone else is around try wheel barrowing - each person picks a dog and grabs its back legs, pulling back and up until the dog loosens its grip
  • Throw clothing over the dogs’ heads which might confuse them
  • Throw a noisy object near the dogs and at the same time yell “no” and “stop”.