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The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Resource material › Dog Control


Dog control is regulated by the Dog Control Act 1996 together with the Dog Control Amendment Act 2003, the Dog Control Amendment Act 2004 and the Dog Control Amendment Act 2006. The Act and its Amendments are implemented by local councils with the support of their communities. The intention of the Act is to improve public safety around dogs by making provision for the control of dogs.
  • Latest: Guidelines for Organisations to Certify Disability Assist Dogs (.pdf) 782k*
    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.

The Department of Internal Affairs also maintains a Dog Safety public information website.


  • Dog Control Amendment Act 2003 - Key Facts 20/7/2006

Further Information

  • Dog Safety and Control Report for 2008/09 (.pdf) 314k*
    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 2009, 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:
*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.

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