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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Fines for breaking dog laws

The Dog Control Act 2000 (the Act) includes penalties for owners of dogs who do not comply with the Act. An owner may receive one or a combination of penalties for not complying with the law.

Depending on which law in the Act is broken, an owner may

  • be fined
  • have to go to court
  • have their dog seized and put down
  • have to pay money (compensation) for injury or damage caused by their dog
  • go to prison

What fines apply under the law?

To work out the maximum amount of a fine, find the law that has been broken and look at the penalty units listed. Penalty units in the Act range from 1-20.

The Dog Control Regulations 2010 (the Regulations) list penalty units that the council can use to issue smaller fines. The penalty units in the Regulations range from 0.5-4.

The value of a penalty unit is set by the Department of Justice (DOJ) each year. In December 2019 one penalty unit was valued at $168.This is adjusted each year in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). You can  view the  Department of Justice penalty units.

How fines are calculated

Section 8(1) of the Act says there is a penalty of not more than 5 penalty units if an owner does not register a dog if it is older than 6 months.

To calculate the maximum fine, multiply the dollar value of the penalty unit (set by DOJ) by the maximum number of penalty units (found in the Act).

For example, in December 2019 the maximum fine a council could impose for not registering a dog would be calculated as follows:






the value of one penalty unit

multiplied by

the maximum penalty


the maximum fine that can be issued

Councils can issue infringement notices for a number of offences, which are less than the maximum penalty under the Act.  The Dog Control Regulations 2010 set out the offences where infringement notices may be issued, and the corresponding penalty units.

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