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When a person is attacked and injured or their property is damaged by an animal owned by someone else, it may be possible to obtain compensation for negligence. In such a case, it would be necessary to establish a cause of action as in any other negligence case.

Where the action sought is to destroy or impound an animal, legislation that applies includes the Dog Control Act 2000, the Dog Control Regulations 2010; and the Animal Welfare Act 1993. The Cat Management Act 2009, and the Cat Management Regulations 2012 commenced on 1 July 2012.

A person who has the care or charge of an animal has a duty to take all reasonable measures to ensure the welfare of the animal. (s6, Animal Welfare Act). If an animal is injured, the owner may be able to claim compensation. It is also possible to bring a criminal prosecution against a wrongdoer, including the owner. Intentional injuries to animals fall under the Animal Welfare Act and people found guilty of cruelty or aggravated cruelty face penalties of up to 12 months imprisonment, or fines of up to 100 penalty units (ss8 and 9). Bodies corporate face fines of up to 500 penalty units. A person may also be disqualified from having custody of any animal for a period a court thinks fit if they are convicted under the Animal Welfare Act. There are animal welfare officers under the Animal Welfare Act (s13) who will investigate and may take action if a complaint is laid.

Any person who steals a dog or other animal may be guilty of an offence under the Tasmanian Criminal Code. To injure or kill cattle is an offence punishable by imprisonment (s237, Criminal Code).

If an animal is mistreated by any person, the owner can either go directly to the police or contact the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). The Society will send an inspector to investigate a complaint, and may even take the appropriate criminal proceedings.  Animals Tasmania provide an independent advocacy service to protect against the abuse, exploitation, and suffering of animals, and may also be contacted.

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