11.6 The Companion Animals Act
All dogs and cats are treated as companion animals under the Companion Animals Act 1998. A person
who owns a dog or cat may be liable for injury caused by their cat or dog, even where there is no negligence. A person who suffers injury or loss from a dog attack may sue the owner or person in control of a dog for compensation.
For example, the owner or any person in control of a dog can be prosecuted if the dog rushes at, attacks, bites, harasses or chases any person or animal, whether or not it causes any injury.
There are exceptions
, if the injury occurred because:
(a) the dog was provoked (teased, mistreated, attacked);
(b) the person or animal was trespassing on the property where the dog was kept;
(c) the dog was acting in reasonable defence of a person or property;
(d) the dog was being used in lawful hunting;
(e) the dog was working stock or training to work stock;
(f) it was a police dog.