The owner of an attacking dog can face varying penalties depending on the circumstances and aftermath of the attack. These penalties range from fines to prison sentences of up to 10 years if the attack results in the death of a person and involved a breed of dog that was restricted or previously declared dangerous.
The dog owner is not always liable for a bite or attack. For example, it is less likely that the owner will be liable to pay if:
- The dog was being abused, assaulted or teased
- A person known to the dog is being attacked in front of it, or
- The victim was trespassing on the property where the dog is kept
If the dog was with someone other than the owner during the attack, both that person and the owner can be held liable for the attack. If the dog chases or rushes at someone aggressively without attacking, it can still result in criminal proceedings.