Councils and Courts have the authority to declare a dog as dangerous. A declaration has effect throughout the state of Victoria, ie. it is not limited to the municipality in which it was declared.
A dog may be declared as dangerous if it has, without provocation, attacked and killed or injured a person or animal or repeatedly threatened to attack or chase a person or animal.
Once a dog has been declared dangerous, owners must comply with the requirements outlined in the Domestic Animals Act 1994. Severe penalties may be imposed and the dog may be seized if the requirements are not met.
The power for Councils to declare dogs to be Menacing Dogs is found in Section 41A of the Domestic Animals Act 1994. A Magistrate can also order a Council to declare a dog to be a Menacing Dog if the owner has been found guilty in Court for their dog rushing at or chasing a person.
A Council in Victoria may declare a dog to be a Menacing Dog if the dog causes a non serious bite injury to a person or animal. This is in addition to the existing power to declare a dog to be Menacing if it rushes at or chases a person.
“Rush at” means that the dog has approached a person within 3 metres in a menacing manner, this includes displaying aggressive behaviour such as snarling, growling and raising the hackles. A Menacing Dog Declaration can be upgraded to a Dangerous Dog declaration if the owner of the Menacing Dog has been issued with two infringement notices for failing to comply with requirements such as leashing or muzzling their dog while in public places. A Menacing Dog Declaration can be revoked by Council if the owner takes a course of action to remedy the reasons for the dog rushing at or chasing a person. The course of action must satisfy the Council that this incident will not be repeated.
New Restricted Breed Dog Regulations
For the safety of all Victorians from 30 September 2011 any unregistered Pit Bull Terrier or Pit Bull cross breeds can be seized and put down under new Victorian law. For more information or to identify if your dog is a restricted breed please visit www.dpi.vic.gov.au/keepyourdog
If you are annoyed by noise from barking dogs please refer to Latrobe City Council's Local Laws Team on 1300 367 700