Tuesday, 1 December 2015

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Dangerous Dogs (Restricted Breeds)

The Dog Act 1976 has recently been amended to bring the provisions relating to restricted breeds from regulations into the Act. They are designed to require responsible ownership of these dogs which are known to be more genetically disposed to be aggressive.

What is a dangerous dog?

Any dog can be dangerous. The Act identifies three types of dangerous dogs:

  • Dangerous dog (restricted breed);
  • Dangerous dog (declared); or
  • Commercial security dog.

What is a restricted breed?

Certain breeds of dogs have been identified by the Commonwealth Government as being particularly aggressive.  They have been banned from import into Australia and each State and territory has introduced legislation to protect the community from these breeds.

What dog breeds are restricted?

The following breeds are classified as restricted:

  • dogo Argentino;
  • fila Brasileiro;
  • Japanese tosa;
  • American pit bull terrier;
  • pit bull terrier;
  • perro de presa Canario or presa Canario;

This includes a mix of two or more breeds, one being a restricted breed.

How will the dog be identified?

A dangerous dog (restricted breed) must wear a collar with red and yellow diagonal stripes of 25mm in width.  One of these colours must be fluorescent. 
The width of the collar is dependent on the weight of the dog. 
What protection measures apply?

  • It must wear a special collar (see above) identifying it as a dangerous dog.
  • A dangerous dog (restricted breed) must be confined to an enclosure that prevents
    • its escape; and
    • its release without permission; and
    • a child less than 7 years old from entering or inserting part of its body.
  • There must be a prescribed warning sign at each entrance to the premises (see reverse).
  • If not in the enclosure, it must:
    • be muzzled; and
    • held by means of a chain, cord, lease or harness of not more than 2 metres in length by an adult capable of controlling the dog or temporarily tethered in the same way.

Can I breed my pit bull terrier?

No, all restricted breed dogs must be sterilised.

It is also an offence to sell, buy or advertise for sale, restricted breed dogs.

Do I have to have my pit bull terrier microchipped?

Yes, all restricted breed dogs must be microchipped by 30 November 2013.

What restrictions are there on the transfer of a restricted breed dog?

A dangerous dog (restricted breed) cannot be transferred to another owner unless there are exceptional circumstances, including:

  • the dog forms part of a deceased estate; or
  • the owner is deemed incapable of caring for the dog by a medical practitioner.

What penalties apply?

A maximum court-imposed fine is $10,000 with a minimum fine of $500 for each offence.

An authorised officer can issue an infringement notice with a modified penalty of $400.

Who is responsible for the implementation of the Act?

The relevant local government is.

Where can I get more information?

For more information visit the Department of Local Government and Communities’ website or contact your local government.

For a description of the collar and sign requirements, visit the State Law Publisher’s website and access the Dog Regulations 2013.

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