The following information has been reproduced with permission from the book
‘RURAL‘ (R U Ready for A Life Change), page 156, by author Bernie Webb.
RURAL-Dogs-Misbehaving.pdf (PDF 304KB)
A well cared for, well behaved dog is not only a true asset but is well deserving of the tag ‘man’s best friend’.
Dogs and Livestock
A property owner has the legal right to shoot a dog if it is found roaming on his/her property if it contains any type of livestock. The box below contains the first two paragraphs, of Section 34, Division 3, Part IV, of the ‘Dog Act 1976’. The ‘Dog Act 1976’ is a comprehensive 80 odd page legally binding act of parliament and like all legal documents should not just be read in part. It is imperative that you absorb the fact that this refers to a pet dog of any breed just as much as it does to a feral or wild dog.
Dog Act 1976
Part IV Control of Dogs
Division 3 Protection of stock; vermin, disease and parasite control
Section 34 Protection of livestock
1) A person who owns, or who is for the time being lawfully in charge of, any animal or bird may lawfully shoot or otherwise destroy a dog which he finds attacking that animal or bird if there is no other way of stopping the attack and provided that notice is given to a police officer as soon as is practicable thereafter.
2) The owner or occupier of any enclosed paddock, field, yard or other place in which any horses, cattle, sheep, swine, goats or poultry (in this section referred to as “livestock”) are confined, or any person acting under the authority of that owner or occupier, may lawfully shoot or otherwise destroy any dog found therein, whether the owner of the dog is or is not known, if that dog is not accompanied by some person.
In a nutshell; if your dog escapes from your property and ends up for any reason on any other property that contains livestock, your dog can be legally shot and killed by the owner or occupier of that property.
This of course works in reverse as well; if you have any stray dogs worrying your livestock you are equally authorised to shoot the dogs under the law provide by this Act.
Having seen with my own eyes the carnage and destruction that even lovable pet dogs can inflict on sheep, goats and other livestock, this in my mind totally justifies the inclusion of the above section into the ‘Dog Act 1976’.
Number of Dogs per property
While we are on the subject of dogs, just because you own a hectare or more of land doesn’t automatically give you the right to have as many dogs as you like. Most local governments will allow you to own two dogs (suitably registered with the local government) per property. If you wish to have three or more dogs on your property you are required to apply for permission from the local government authority to do so. For various reasons the approval is not always granted, so don’t assume that it will be. Should you apply for permission for more than five dogs, unless you have a really good and valid reason (professional breeder for example) you will be even less likely to get approval. Should justifiable complaints be received by the local government authority any approval can be cancelled or withdrawn.
Another misconception regarding dogs in rural areas, is that somehow it is alright to take them for a walk off lead in a public area (i.e. public road) or (worse) let them roam free unattended.
Dog Act 1976 (WA)
Part IV Control of Dogs
Division 1 Dogs Generally
Section 31 Control of dogs in certain public places
1) A dog shall not be in a public place unless it is-
a) held by a person who is capable of controlling the dog; or
b) securely tethered for a temporary purpose, by means of a chain, cord, leash or harness of sufficient strength
As you can see from Part IV, Division 1, Section 31 of the ‘Dog Act 1976’ (‘Legal Obligations’ box – above) it is definitely not ‘alright’ and (3) of the same section states (in part), “…every person liable for the control of the dog at the time commits an offence against that subsection…” and if convicted can incur a penalty of $1,000.