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 both the dog and the owner.
The Council has the authority under the Dog Control Act 1996 to classify dogs as dangerous or menacing.
Generally, a dog must be classified as dangerous if:
If the Council has classified a dog as dangerous, the owner:
(i) Muzzled in such a manner as to prevent the dog from biting but to allow it to breathe and drink without obstruction.
(ii) Controlled on a leash (except when in a dog exercise area specified in a bylaw made under section 20(1)(d)(external link)).
* In this context 'at large' includes unrestrained and running freely on private property without authorisation from the property owner
** a 'private way' is a recognised path/lane over private land, intended for the use of certain people or groups, not the general public
Failure to comply with any of the above makes the owner of a dangerous dog liable to infringement offence notices under several sections of the Dog Control Act 1996, or to a fine of up to $3000 upon conviction.
A Dog Control Officer may also 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.