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Dangerous Dogs

What is a dangerous dog?
A dangerous dog, as defined by the Domestic (Feral and Nuisance) Animals Act 1994, is deemed to be a dog that:

  • is kept as a guard dog for the purpose of guarding non-residential premises and/or
  • has been trained to attack or bite any person or any thing attached or worn by a person and/or
  • has been declared to be dangerous by a council under Part 3 of the Act.

In what circumstances can a dog be declared dangerous?
A council may declare a dog dangerous

  • if the dog has caused serious injury to a person or animal by biting or attacking a person or animal
  • if the dog has been declared dangerous by another council, or
  • for any other reason prescribed.

How do you know if a dog is dangerous?
A dangerous dog must wear a special red and yellow, diagonally striped, reflective collar.

Photo: Dangerous Dog Collar

Never approach or pat a dog wearing this collar.

What must the owner of a dangerous dog do?
1. The owner of a dangerous dog must notify the council within 24 hours if

  • the dog attacks or injures a person or animal, or
  • the dog is missing, or
  • the ownership of the dog changes, or
  • there is a guard dog on non-residential premises.

2. The owner must immediately notify the council if he/she

  • obtains a dog that has been trained to attack
  • begins attack training with a dog

3. When a dangerous dog is on the owner's premises the owner must keep the dog indoors or in a locked enclosure. This enclosure must be childproof and be constructed so that the dog cannot escape from it.

4. The owner of a dangerous dog must display warning signs which comply with the regulations at all entrances to the premises where the dog is kept, warning people that a dangerous dog is kept on the premises.

Illustration: Dangerous Dog Sign

Can a dangerous dog be allowed off the owner's premises?
If a dangerous dog is outside the premises of it's owner it must be muzzled in a manner which is sufficient to prevent it causing injury or biting and be under effective control of some person by means of a chain, cord and/or leash.

What are the consequences if the owner of a dangerous dog does not comply with these regulations?
If the owner and any person for the time being in charge of the dangerous dog do not comply and are guilty of an offence they are liable upon conviction to a penalty of not more than 5 penalty units for a first offence and 10 penalty units for a second or subsequent offence. Their dog may also be destroyed.
One penalty unit = $100; five penalty units =$500.

What is a Menacing Dog?
A council can declare a dog to be a menacing dog if

  • the dog has rushed at or chased a person
  • another council has declared the dog a menacing dog.

It cannot be declared menacing if

  • the dog was being teased, abused or assaulted
  • the person was trespassing on the premises on which the dog is kept
  • another person known to the person is being attacked in front of the dog.

What does the owner of a menacing dog have to do?
The owner of a menacing dog must notify the council within 24 hours if

  • the dog rushes at or chases a person (rush at, in relation to a dog, means to approach a person to a distance of less than 3 metres in a menacing manner, displaying aggressive tendencies that may include snarling, growling and raised hackles)
  • the dog is missing
  • the ownership of the dog changes

If a menacing dog leaves it's premises the council may require the owner to

  • muzzle the dog in a manner, which is sufficient to prevent it causing injury by biting and/or
  • be under the effective control of some person by means of a chain, cord or leash.


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