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.
GP Contact information - 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.
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.
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.