Dog attacks

Every year in Wellington there are about 100 reported dog attacks.

Black dog roaming free.

No matter how well you know a dog or how friendly it looks, any dog is capable of attacking and causing serious harm.

If a dog attacks

Treat the injury

If skin has been broken or if the wound seems reasonably serious, seek medical attention immediately.

Find a GP - Capital and Coast District Health Board

Report the attack

Report all dog attacks to the Council's Animal Services. This information is necessary if there is any action taken against the dog or the owner in the future. It also helps the Council monitor dog control issues in Wellington.

It is best to report the attack by phoning our team on 04 499 4444.

Preventing attacks

Dogs can attack when they feel provoked or when they think their owner might be threatened. It’s important to know how to behave around dogs, for example:

  • don't approach or run away from a dog
  • don't use fast or sudden movements
  • don't look directly into a dog's eyes or lean over it (these are dominant behaviours)
  • always ask the owner first if you want to pat their dog.

Always mind young children around dogs. If a dog appears threatening, back away slowly and try to keep a defensive barrier between you, but don't use anything as a weapon.

The law

If a dog is aggressive and intimidating, the Council may take the following actions:

  • issue a warning or infringement notice
  • file a prosecution (if the offence or harm is significant)
  • classify the owner as probationary or disqualify them from ownership
  • classify the dog as dangerous or menacing
  • impound the dog while a court decision is made.

Contact us

If you have any questions, contact the Dogs Team.

Phone: 04 499 4444


Postal address:
PO Box 2199, Wellington 6140

Street address:
Arapaki Manners Library and Service Centre
12 Manners Street
Wellington | View in Google Maps