Dangerous Dogs

The ACT Ombudsman can investigate complaints about Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS), this includes complaints about Domestic Animal Services (DAS) and complaints made through Access Canberra.

This can include complaints about:

  • action taken by DAS following a dog attack against you, your animals or family
  • action taken by DAS in relation to an incident that your dog that was involved in
  • how your complaint was handled by the agency (i.e. DAS has not followed law, policy or process correctly).

What we cannot help you with

We will not investigate a complaint when:

  • a more appropriate agency can assist, such as the ACT Human Rights Commission
  • the matter has been considered by a Minister, or has been before a court or tribunal.

If we decide to not investigate your complaint, we will explain the reasons why.

See Who else can help for a detailed list of other complaint-handling agencies.

Before you make a complaint

Before making a complaint to the Ombudsman we ask you to try and resolve the issue with DAS, by making a complaint through Access Canberra. How to lodge a complaint with DAS is summarised below.

Note:

  • Dog attacks currently underway, that are reported will be given the highest priority. These complaints will be expedited to DAS with a request to attend the ongoing incident (DAS isavailable by phone 24 hours).
  • DAS has developed a fact sheet about what happens after a dog attack, as well as a community safety flyer.

How to lodge your complaint to DAS through Access Canberra

Reporting dog attacks

For non-urgent matters call Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

For urgent or life threatening matters call emergency services on Triple Zero 000.

Other dangerous dog complaints

Contact Access Canberra:

How to complain to the ACT Ombudsman

If you have been unhappy with the handling or the outcomes of your complaint by Access Canberra or DAS, you can make a complaint to the ACT Ombudsman.

You can make a complaint through our online complaint form or by calling us on 02 6276 3773 (select option 1).

When writing your complaint keep it simple and stick to the facts. Be as specific as possible about dates, names and other important details. Make sure you include:

  • a description of your issue, incident or decision
  • dates of events and contact with DAS/Access Canberra
  • who was involved including witnesses
  • details of telephone conversations or meetings
  • reference numbers you received when dealing with DAS/Access Canberra
  • evidence such as photographs or medical records
  • steps you have already taken to sort out the problem
  • what outcome you would like to see as a result of your complaint.

An overview of what we do with your complaint is available here.

How to get help with making a complaint

If you need support to make a complaint call us on 02 6276 3773. We will do our best to help you.

You can call us on our dedicated Indigenous number 1800 060 789 or you can use our Indigenous language interpreter service.

If you are a non-English speaking person, we can help through the Translating and Interpreter Service (TIS) on 131 450. You can visit our brochures page for information in many community languages.

If you are hearing or speech impaired, please use the National Relay Service:

  • the speak and listen number is 1300 555 727
  • for TTY call 133677.

Complaint Case Study

A dog owner complained about failing to be consulted about a decision by the DAS Registrar to make a Dangerous Dog Declaration, after their dog was seriously injured by another dog.

They advised our Office they were not given an opportunity to give comments or be heard on this decision that had impacted their family. They had been told to take their matter to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, but the time limit for this had lapsed.

Our Office spoke to the relevant team at TCCS. TCCS reconsidered its decision to finalise the matter and conducted an external review of the incident. TCCS contacted the dog owner and gave them an opportunity to provide further information before making a decision.