Animal Law

Animal Law

Animal Law Enquiries

Click here to register for a call-back

Having grown up with dogs and livestock in a rural environment, our principal practitioner James Matthies has always had a keen interest in animal welfare. This interest led him to include various areas of animal law in his practice.

Veterinary Negligence

With the increase in specialists practising in the Veterinary field, there are now more treatment options than there once were, which can present problems for Vets in deciding when an animal they are struggling to treat should be transferred to a specialist. It is important that before you contact us, you first lodge a claim with the Veterinary Practitioners Board in your state. If you do this, and there is an adverse finding made against the veterinary practitioner, you are likely to find that the vet’s insurer will make an offer to settle the matter quite quickly, whereas if you have not lodged a complaint with the Veterinary Practitioners Board and the board has not found that the vet in question was negligent, it is likely that the vet or their insurer will deny liability and getting any settlement will be difficult.

For many families pets such as dogs have assumed the status of surrogate child, with owners prepared to spend whatever it takes to keep their pet healthy. At times, treatments do go wrong, and on occasion veterinary practitioners may have been negligent. In these circumstances, we are able to assist in bringing a claim against the veterinary practitioner, which may see the practitioner sanctioned by the Veterinary Practitioners Board, and may also achieve a payout for the pet owner, usually from the insurer of the Veterinary Practitioner.

If you believe you have a veterinary negligence claim, and you have lodged a complaint with the Veterinary Practitioners Board in your state and your vet was found to be negligent, please contact Matthies Lawyers for an initial consultation.

Offences under the Domestic Animals Act 1994

Local Councils are increasingly prosecuting the owners of dogs who attack another dog or animal, or attack or rush at a human. As a dog owner, you are deemed responsible for anything your dog does. Offences under the Domestic Animals Act may result in a fine being imposed, but more serious cases may lead to the dog owner being summonsed to appear in Court, where they may be convicted of charges which may affect their future employment options. Magistrates also have the discretion to impose orders such as menacing declarations, dangerous dog declarations or in more extreme cases, dog destruction orders.

Matthies Lawyers has significant experience in representing clients charged with breaches of the Domestic Animals Act, and there are various defences and appeal avenues available. Owners who receive a summons to attend Court should contact Matthies Lawyers without delay, as our representation will help minimise the severity of the outcomes for you and your dog. Our representation may be able to prevent your dog being declared dangerous or prevent it from receiving a destruction order. Our representation will also aim to avoid convictions for dog owners, which may affect future employment opportunities.

Should you be the owner or handler of a dog that has been involved in an attack, please contact Matthies Lawyers for advice without delay, as we may be able to assist you in negotiating an outcome prior to the Council deciding to refer the matter for prosecution.

Family & Divorce Law

Wills & Estates

Property Conveyancing

Will Disputes

Animal Law


Schedule a Consultation Now

Fill out our quick form to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers. We’ll discuss your legal options and work with you to find the best solution for your animal law matter.

From the Blog

Grey Divorce and Property Settlement

Grey divorce refers to a type of divorce where the couple ending their marriage are aged over 50. Although the divorce rate in Australia has declined, there...