Councils and courts have the authority to declare a dog as dangerous, throughout Victoria.
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.
Council has the authority to declare a dog to be a menacing dog (section 41A of the Domestic Animals Act 1994). A magistrate can order 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.
Victorian councils may declare a dog to be a menacing dog if the dog:
- causes a non-serious bite injury to a person or animal
- 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 failed to comply with requirements of two infringement notices such as leashing or muzzling their dog while in public places.
A menacing dog declaration can be withdrawn by council if the owner acts to remedy the reasons for the dog rushing at or chasing a person. The action must satisfy council that the incident will not be repeated and cannot be made within the first three years of the declaration.
New restricted dog breed regulations
From 30 September 2011, any unregistered Pit Bull Terrier or Pit Bull cross breeds can be seized and put down under Victorian law.
For more information or to identify if your dog is a restricted breed visit the DEPI website
If you are annoyed by noise from barking dogs phone Local Laws Team on 1300 367 700 or report online.