Council has the authority under the Companion Animals Act to declare dogs to be dangerous, menacing or a restricted breed. If these declarations are made, owners must, by law, follow strict rules of ownership including how the animal is to be kept. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in seizure of the dog and penalties. Should council declare a dog to be a dangerous or menacing, they must first give notice of their intention, in writing, to the owner of the dog. The owner has the right to contest the notice and forward representations to council for consideration. Council will assess the representations and provide notification of their decision.
If a notice of intention is given to declare a dog a restricted breed, the owner may elect to have the dog breed and/or temperament assessed to provide proof the dog is not a restricted breed and/or a danger to the public. Council will review the outcome of the assessment and provide notification of their decision.
Council may declare a dog to be dangerous if it:
- Has, without being provoked, killed a person or animal (other than vermin).
- Has, without being provoked, attacked a person or animal (other than vermin).
- Has, without being provoked, repeatedly threatened to attack or repeatedly chased a person or animal (other than vermin).
- Is kept or used for hunting.
- Has been declared a dangerous dog under a law of another State or a Territory that corresponds with this Act.
Council may declare a dog to be menacing if it:
- Has displayed unreasonable aggression towards a person or animal (other than vermin).
- Has, without being provoked, attacked a person or animal (other than vermin) but without causing serious injury or death.
- Has been declared a menacing dog under a law of another State or a Territory that corresponds with this Act.
Council may declare a dog to be a restricted breed if it is of a breed, cross-breed or kind of dog on the restricted dog list as follows:
- American Pitbull terrier or Pitbull terrier.
- Japanese Tosa.
- Dogo Argentino (Argentinean fighting dog).
- Fila Brasiliero (Brazilian fighting dog).
- Perro de Canario or Presa Canario.
- Any other dog or breed, whose importation into Australia is prohibited.
- Any dog declared by an authorised officer of council to be a restricted dog.
Rules for dangerous, menacing and restricted dogs
Owners of dangerous, menacing and restricted dogs must comply with the following:
- Dog must be microchipped, desexed and registered.
- Dog must not be in the sole charge of a person under 18 years of age.
- While at its normal place of residence the dog must be kept in an enclosure that complies with the requirements prescribed by the Regulation. (Menacing dogs are exempt from this rule, however the dog must still be enclosed in a manner that is sufficient to restrain the dog and prevent a child from having access to the dog).
- Clearly visible warning signs must be displayed on the property showing the words 'warning - dangerous dog'.
- Dogs must at all times wear a distinctive collar. Collars can be purchased from council's Animal Shelter.
- Dogs must not be sold, given away or advertised for sale
- Dogs must not be used for breeding or permitted to be available for breeding
When outside its enclosure the dog must be:
- On a chain, cord or leash and under the effective control of a competent person. The dog can never be walked off leash, even in a designated off leash area.
- Securely muzzled in a way that prevents it from biting any animal or person.
Council must be notified of the following within 24 hours if the dog:
- Has attacked or injured a person or animal.
- Is lost or missing.
- Has died.
- Is being kept at a different address in the area of the council.
- Is being kept outside the council area.
Report dog attack, lost animal, animal death, change of details
Failure to comply and penalties
Council carries out regular inspections to ensure compliance. Heavy penalties apply if owners breach any of the laws around keeping dangerous, menacing or restricted breed dogs. Certain offences carry fines of up to $77,000 and a jail sentence or both. Council officers and police also have authority to seize a dangerous, menacing or restricted breed dog should you fail to comply.
Pay animal infringement fine