It is important for all dog owners to be aware of when a dog can be classified as dangerous or menacing, and what that means for the owner.

The Christchurch City Council has the authority to classify dogs as dangerous or menacing.

A dog can be classified as dangerous if:

  • The owner has been convicted of an attacking dog offence under the Dog Control Act 1996
  • Sworn evidence has been received on one or more occasions that the dog was aggressive
  • A dog owner admits in writing that his or her dog is a threat to people or animals

When a dog is classified as dangerous, the dog owner has a right to object within 14 days of receiving the classification notice. Objections must be in writing.

If the Council has classified a dog as dangerous, the owner must:

  • Make sure that the dog is secured in a fenced section of the property to allow visitors “dog free” access to the house
  • Make sure the dog is muzzled and on a leash at all times when walking in public places
  • Must not allow the dog to be at large or in any public place except when confined completely within a vehicle or cage
  • Within one month of the classification, provide a vet’s certificate that the dog has been desexed
  • Pay a dog registration fee 50 per cent higher than the standard fee
  • Apply to the Council in whose area the dog will be kept before passing ownership of the dog to another person
  • Advise any other person responsible for the dog for up to 72 hours of the need for a muzzle and a leash in public

Failure to comply with any of the above makes any owner of a dangerous dog liable for a fine of up to $3000 upon conviction and a Dog Control Officer may seize, remove and hold the dog until the Council is satisfied that the dog owner will comply with the requirements.

Read more about Dog Control offences.