We can assist you to have your dog released on dog bail

We can help save your dog from destruction

Dog Lawyer - The Dog Control Act 1996

Baden Meyer and his staff are an effective team specialising in Dog Control Law.

We can help you get your dog home, negotiate conditions, assist in avoid charges being laid altogether or defend charges under the Dog Control Act 1996. Our team is highly skilled, widely recognised, experienced, resourceful, dedicated and have a proven track record of success - Don't leave it up to chance.

Baden Meyer is an expert at representing individuals charged under the Dog Control Act 1996. Charges under this act can carry mandatory destruction orders; avoiding a destruction order, either by successfully defending the charge or negotiating with councils, is Baden Meyer does; call him today to help save your dog.

How can Baden Meyer help?

  • Negotiate with the Council to see if charges are going to be laid (and convince them otherwise)
  • Achieve ‘dog bail’ and get your beloved pet out of the pound and back home
  • Defend the charges you face under the Dog Control Act 1996 and avoid destruction of your dog
  • Reduce the type or number of charges (and the inevitable fines; up to $3,000 for the most common offences under the Dog Control Act)
  • Reduce the sentence imposed if you are convicted (including fines, community work, imprisonment and ownership disqualification)
  • Appeal decisions made including destruction orders or classification of your dog (e.g. menacing or dangerous)
  • Negotiate dog classification
  • Achieve a discharge without conviction which would avoid any destruction order being imposed;
  • We attend Dog Control cases throughout New Zealand

Baden Meyer can help you. He will work hard to get your dog back home and negotiate a resolution to avoid a destruction order of your beloved pet. We will provide you the benefits of expert advice and an upfront written overview of how we can help.

Baden Meyer is an accomplished barrister & dog lawyer with many years of experience in this highly specialised area of dog law - impending or potential charges under the Dog Control Act 1996.

Charges under this act can carry mandatory destruction orders; avoiding a destruction order, either by successfully defending the charge or negotiating with councils, is what Baden Meyer is an expert in doing.

He and his legal team have a track record of achieving great results for dog owners. We are experienced, highly skilled, dedicated and professional. We understand how important dogs are to their owners and that the prospect of losing their dog is daunting. As a team, we will work closely with you, the Council and police to either negotiate, mitigate, reduce or defend the charges brought against you.

We understand that dealing with these types of charges can be a very stressful and emotional experience. Through excellent communication, honesty and determination, we will fight for your rights as the dog owner.

We are based in Auckland and Whangarei but we represent dog owners throughout New Zealand. Because of our specialised practice, we have formed and maintained good relationships with Councils, Dog warden services and police in many different parts of the country.

For most people, dealing with a Dog Control matter is unexpected and unnerving. After the alleged incident a normal reaction is to try to do all you can to avoid your dog being put down. Sometimes this reaction can cause people to say or do things that are damaging to their case down the track.

In our experience, it can be some time until the Council and their prosecutors decide to lay charges after the incident. What happens after the incident can be a very important period of time where people’s actions and interaction with various people connected with the process may dictate whether they are charged or not. This is when you need an expert in the area. We have lost count of how many clients have told us that they wish they had called us earlier.

The Dog Control Act 1996 sets out the obligations, liabilities, charges and penalties for dog owners. These include a variety of circumstances from an escaped dog to injurying/killing another animal or person and can have both fines and/or imprisonment as punishment.

The most common charges we encounter are under sections 57 and 58 of the Dog Control Act 1996, which deal with dog attacks. Once a person is charged with a dog attack offence the Court must order for the destruction of the dog, unless we can put forward a case that show that the circumstances of the case were exceptional.

As a dog owner, you can be personally or jointly held criminally liable for the actions of your dog or any other dog that is in your possession and control. Some of the potential charges amount to criminal offences and will be put on your criminal record. This can even happen when someone else is looking after your dog for you.

In cases we have dealt with, we have managed to avoid charges being laid against our clients, but this depends on a range of factors. Councils have a wide discretion whether to lay charges or not but the Dog Control Act is very clear and extremely onerous (harsh) on someone that is charged with an offence under it.

There are many potential offences a dog owner can face. These range from s18 to 72 of the Dog Control Act 1996. The most common offences we deal with are:

s53(1) Failure to keep dog under control;

s54(2) Failure to provide proper care and attention, to supply proper and sufficient food, water, and shelter, and to provide adequate exercise;

s54A Failure to carry leash in public;

s55(7) Failure to comply with barking dog notice

s57 Dog attacks other person, or any stock, poultry, domestic animal, or protected wildlife

s57A Dog rushes at / startles person / animal causing person to be killed, injured / endangered / property to be damaged / endangered or rushes at any vehicle in a manner that causes / is likely to cause an accident

s58 Dogs causing serious injury - attacks and causes serious injury to any person; or death / injury requiring euthanasia of protected wildlife

s61 Failure to comply with order to keep the dog worrying stock or poultry under proper restraint for the destruction of the dog

s62 Allowing dog known to be dangerous to be at large unmuzzled or unleashed

The list of offences can be found under Schedule 1 – Infringement offences and fees in the Dog Control Act 1996. Please see the link below for more information:


For every incident, the circumstances are unique and will dictate what course of action the Council or police will take. Likewise, your charge(s) and options you take to deal with them vary the court process.

Many of our clients have had their cases resolved before going to Court. This has been because they have engaged our services early and worked with us and their Council representative to reach a practical and fair decision. Starting negotiations with the Council as soon as the incident is reported is critical. By the time your dog is put into the pound (if this is the Council's decision), charges can become more likely; this is where we can help.

Our team has dealt with a diverse range of facts and charges. The variety of circumstances has involved processes, procedure and negotiations that have been either short, long, simple, complex, extensive, minor and serious. Because of this, the time in which a case is brought to a conclusion also varies.

The following is a common overview of the process we regularly deal with:

  1. Incident occurs.
  2. Contact with the Council regarding the incident. This can be a critical time in the procedure as charges may or may not be laid depending on the circumstances and interaction with the investigator and/or warden.
  3. Dog custody issues (decision to impound or release on conditions).
  4. Investigation begins.
  5. Council decision/recommendation to prosecuting body on decision to lay charge(s).
  6. Charges are laid.
  7. Court summons served/received – formal documents requiring you to attend Court. Court dates are usually within a 14-day period.
  8. Negotiations can take place with the investigator/Council representative (may involve amending/withdrawing charges).
  9. First Court appearance. No plea is required as this is usually the time for disclosure (potential evidence) to be provided and legal advice to be sought.
  10. Second appearance. Plea of guilty or not guilty is entered:
    (i) Guilty plea: sentencing hearing allocated - submissions on exceptional circumstances may be required; Sentencing then takes place; OR
    (ii) Not guilty plea – Receives all formal witness statements and any remaining disclosure
  11. Case Management hearing; Negotiation of charges – election of trial or withdrawal and/or amendment of charges.
  12. Trial (judge alone) or Sentencing
  13. Sentencing or withdrawal/dismissal of charges (This can involve order for the destruction of your dog).

My dog has just been involved in an incident. What are my options at this stage?

The answer to this varies and is dependant on the context but the best option is to either try and resolve the matter with the immediate party affected, or to seek independent legal advice. Legal advice is especially important if your dog has attacked someone or another animal, has been confiscated by a dog warden or police; or the Council has been in touch with you about the actions of your dog

Am I criminally liable for the actions of my dog?

Short answer is yes; you are liable for the actions of your dog. With most offences under the Dog Control Act 1996 you will be required to go to court.If you are convicted on a charge, the conviction is entered as a criminal conviction and put on your record. You must also be aware that you can be held criminally liable not only for the actions of your dog but also for any dog in your possession or control. The obligations for dog owners is set out in the Dog Control Act 1996 which include being liable for a breach of an obligation even if that breach was accidental or unintentional.

The best option is to try and negotiate with the Council a remedy to issue before charges are even laid (although in certain circumstances this is unavoidable). This is where our team is extremely effective".

Some of the situations when the owner or possessor of a dog is criminally liable include:

  • Your dog escaping from your property and is no longer in your control;
  • Attack/bite occurs when I am in possession of someone else’s dog;
  • Your dog attacks a person, another pet (domestic animal), any stock, poultry or protected wildlife;
  • Your dog rushes at a person, animal or vehicle.

Will my dog be destroyed?

When a person is convicted for an offence involving a dog attack, in which their dog was the attacker, the court must order for the destruction of your dog. This is final, unless you or with our team’s assistance are able to show that the circumstances of the attack were exceptional.

My dog has been taken by the Council, am I able to get it back before the final court decision?

In certain circumstances yes, we have successfully applied for and obtained ‘dog bail’. This involves extensive negotiation with the Council and sometimes police and can be dependant on the circumstances of the incident or the type of charge.

It is usually best to get a third party, such as a member of our team, to assist in getting your dog ‘dog bail’. This is because we have an established relationship with a range of Council workers due to previous dog-related incidents/charges. Essentially, it is wise to use another person as a negotiator who is not directly involved in the incident.

For more information, either give us a call or contact your local Council. Remember that anything said to the Council or police can be potentially used as evidence in a case against you and your dog

What are our fees?

Because every situation and incident varies, the required work does too. Because of this, we do not have set fees but we can arrange a non-obligation quote to fit your case. The fee will usually be a fixed fee arrangement and any extra work required not in our quote will fall under the fixed fee – See our “Fees” Link for more information.

One More Question?

Please use our contact form for any further questions you would like to ask. We will endeavour to get back to you within 12 hours.

We are ON CALL 7 DAYS A WEEK via telephone or contact us through our easy online query forms. Or book an appointment to visit us in our offices.

Choose an expert

Because dog owners can be held liable for a range of offences under the Dog Control Act 1996, including when their dog causes any injuries from a dog attack, you will need an expert in this field to get the best possible result.

Baden Meyer has a track record of success in helping avoid destruction orders, avoid fines, avoid owner disqualification and where possible or get your charges dismissed.

Baden understands the importance of dogs to their owners; he will work closely with you, the courts, police and the relevant council to achieve a positive outcome for you and your family.

Call us on 02102711653 for a non-obligation phone call or appointment to start the process. After our initial consultation we will provide you a written overview of how we can help, how much it will cost you and the benefits of expert, experienced representation.

For most people, being charged with any offence is traumatic. Being convicted of an offence against the Dog Control Act 1996 can cost you your dog, your freedom, your reputation, your job, and more.

Your case isn’t just about the law – it’s about your life and the life of your dog. Baden understands the trust you place in him when you choose him to represent you.

If you are charged with an offence because your dog attacked another dog, animal or person there will be a mandatory order for the destruction of your dog unless a Court can be satisfied that the circumstances of the offence/attack were exceptional.

You can still be charged with an offence if you are not the owner but were in control/possession of the dog at the time of the incident.

Testimonials (What our client say)

"An amazing result and a truly professional service. It was great to have an expert handle this for us; avoiding the destruction order was our goal and we are so thankful it was resolved so quickly."

Simon & Family

"Our dog is a member of the family. Facing the prospect of her being destroyed was simply awful. So thankful that was avoided, cannot thank you enough for the outcome."

Jane H

"Having to appear in court for the first time in my life was so stressful. It was great to have someone listen to my concerns and talk me through the whole process. Baden was so easy to talk to and he achieved the result we wanted. Just awesome."

Moana J


Baden Meyer attended Otago University graduating with an LLB in 2000. Following his admission as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 2002 Baden worked as a member of several litigation teams in various highly regarded New Zealand firms before becoming a member of the independent bar in 2010.

Baden decided to become a barrister and work for himself because he enjoys the client contact and is energised by the challenge of advocating for his clients, whether in negotiation or litigation. Baden is able to keep his finger on the pulse of his clients’ matters at all times, from start to finish.

Contact Us

Baden Meyer - Barrister
Level 5, 43 High Street, Auckland City
PO Box 105-629 Auckland 1143
Phone: 021 02711653
Email: law@badenmeyer.com