Negotiate with the Council to see if charges are going to be laid (and convince them otherwise).
We will work hard to get your dog back home and negotiate a resolution to avoid a destruction order of your beloved pet.
We attend dog control cases throughout New Zealand.
Because dog owners can be held liable for a range of offences under the Dog Control Act 1996, including when their dog causes any injuries from a dog attack, you will need an expert in this field to get the best possible result.
We have a track record of success in helping avoid destruction orders, avoid fines, avoid owner disqualification and where possible get your charges dismissed. Our barristers understand the importance of dogs to their owners; we will work closely with you, the courts, police and the relevant council to achieve a positive outcome for you and your family.
After our initial consultation we will provide you a written overview of how we can help, how much it will cost you and the benefits of expert, experienced representation. If you are charged with an offence because your dog attacked another dog, animal or person there will be a mandatory order for the destruction of your dog unless a Court can be satisfied that the circumstances of the offence/attack were exceptional. You can still be charged with an offence if you are not the owner but were in control/possession of the dog at the time of the incident.
Charges under this act can carry mandatory destruction orders; avoiding a destruction order, either by successfully defending the charge or negotiating with councils, is what we are experts in achieving.
Our legal team have a track record of achieving great results for dog owners. We are experienced, highly skilled, dedicated and professional. We understand how important dogs are to their owners and that the prospect of losing their dog is daunting. As a team, we will work closely with you, the Council and police to either negotiate, mitigate, reduce or defend the charges brought against you.
We understand that dealing with these types of charges can be a very stressful and emotional experience. Through excellent communication, honesty and determination, we will fight for your rights as the dog owner.
We represent dog owners throughout New Zealand. Because of our specialised practice, we have formed and maintained good relationships with Councils, Dog warden services and police in many different parts of the country.
For most people, dealing with a Dog Control matter is unexpected and unnerving. After the alleged incident a normal reaction is to try to do all you can to avoid your dog being put down. Sometimes this reaction can cause people to say or do things that are damaging to their case down the track.
In our experience, it can be some time until the Council and their prosecutors decide to lay charges after the incident. What happens after the incident can be a very important period of time where people’s actions and interaction with various people connected with the process may dictate whether they are charged or not. This is when you need an expert in the area. We have lost count of how many clients have told us that they wish they had called us earlier.
The Dog Control Act 1996 sets out the obligations, liabilities, charges and penalties for dog owners. These include a variety of circumstances from an escaped dog to injuring/killing another animal or person and can have both fines and/or imprisonment as punishment.
The most common charges we encounter are under sections 57, 57A and 58 of the Dog Control Act 1996, which deal with dog attacks. Once a person is charged with a dog attack offence the Court must order the destruction of the dog, unless we can put forward a case that show that the circumstances of the case were exceptional.
As a dog owner, you can be personally or jointly held criminally liable for the actions of your dog or any other dog that is in your possession and control. Some of the potential charges amount to criminal offences and will be put on your criminal record. This can even happen when someone else is looking after your dog for you.
In cases we have dealt with, we have managed to avoid charges being laid against our clients, but this depends on a range of factors. Councils have a wide discretion whether to lay charges or not but the Dog Control Act is very clear and extremely onerous (harsh) on someone that is charged with an offence under it.
There are many potential offences a dog owner can face. These range from s18 to 72 of the Dog Control Act 1996. Please see the link below for more information:
For every incident, the circumstances are unique and will dictate what course of action the Council or police will take. Likewise, your charge(s) and options you take to deal with them vary the court process.
Many of our clients have had their cases resolved before going to Court. This has been because they have engaged our services early and worked with us and their Council representative to reach a practical and fair decision. Starting negotiations with the Council as soon as the incident is reported is critical. By the time your dog is put into the pound (if this is the Council's decision), charges can become more likely; this is where we can help.
Our team has dealt with a diverse range of facts and charges. The variety of circumstances has involved processes, procedure and negotiations that have been either short, long, simple, complex, extensive, minor and serious. Because of this, the time in which a case is brought to a conclusion also varies.
The following is a common overview of the process we regularly deal with: