The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Resource material › Dog Control

Further changes to reduce the risk and harm of dog attacks (November 2016)

The Government has announced a further package of changes that will form part of a bill to amend the Dog Control Act 1996. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the law changes when the bill is before Select Committee in 2017.

The latest changes focus on: licensing owners of high-risk dogs, amendments to infringements and offences under the Dog Control Act 1996, and introducing additional reporting requirements for councils on dog attacks. These changes supplement the first package of changes announced in September 2016. Detail about the overall national strategy to reduce the risk and harm of dog attacks is available here: 2016 Review of Dog Control Regime.

Package of changes to reduce the risk and harm of serious dog attacks (September 2016)

The Government has agreed to contribute $0.85 million to target high-risk dogs, as part of a package of changes to reduce the risk and harm of dog attacks. The package has three parts: changes to the Dog Control Act 1996 to introduce tougher rules for owners of high-risk dogs; best practice guidance for councils; and education about dog behaviour and safety around dogs. We’d like to again thank the many people who submitted their views in our feedback survey earlier this year, which helped inform the proposals.

Dog safety message from Internal Affairs - March 2016

Thank you to everyone who provided comments on the Enforcement Guidelines under the Dog Control Act 1996, your assistance is much appreciated.

As you may know, in 2015, the Rules Reduction Taskforce (the Taskforce) called for submissions from New Zealanders about rules they find annoying. Submissions from around the country noted difficulties in the dog registration process and, in its report The loopy rules report: New Zealanders Tell their stories (.pdf, 1.7MB), the Taskforce called for ‘better information and resources to help dog owners and councils to manage their responsibilities’ Read more...


  • Dog Control Amendment Act 2003 - Key Facts (updated: March 2014)

Disability Assist Dogs

Guidelines for Organisations to Certify Disability Assist Dogs

Link here to an html version of this document.

The Department of Internal Affairs has developed guidelines to assist organisations in applying to certify disability assist dogs under the Dog Control Act 1996. A disability assist dog is trained to help people with disabilities and may enter and remain in places where other dogs are prohibited to go.

After conferring with the Minister for Disability Issues, the Minister of Local Government can recommend new organisations to be authorised under the Act. These guidelines help to ensure that only suitable organisations are authorised.

    Identifying Disability Assist Dogs in an emergency

    The Disability Assist Dog identification tag is a standardised and easily recognisable identification tag for all certified Disability Assist Dogs, which will assist in emergency response and recovery.

    Dog Safety and Control Report for 2009/10

    • Dog Safety and Control Report for 2009/10 (.pdf) 340k*
      The Dog Control Act 1996 makes councils responsible for the control of dogs and makes the registration of dogs mandatory each year. This report presents currently available information on dog populations, dog attacks, enforcement and prosecutions. It provides a snapshot as at May 2010, and is based on analysis of data from the National Dogs Database, supplemented by Accident Compensation Corporation dog bite claim information and Ministry of Justice prosecution information.

    Discussion Document documents and consultation 2003-09

    This discussion document was released in December 2007 and sought public comment on ideas that could help further improve dog control and public safety around dogs.
    Submissions closed on 31 March 2008.

    The Department's analysis of the submissions showed that, on the whole, submitters did not want major legislative changes. Further work on the legislative options outlined in the discussion document is not planned at this time (April 2009).

    View, print or download the discussion document: View, print or download the summary of results and analysis of public submissions on the discussion document:

    Further Information

    *This document is in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. You need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. You can download a free version from the Adobe site.