This page outlines legal requirements for owners of greyhounds in Victoria. The following information applies to owners of:
- pet Greyhounds, including those adopted from shelters, pounds, and rescue groups
- Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) greyhounds
- Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) dogs
Pet greyhounds in Victoria
Currently under the Domestic Animals Act 1994 (DA Act), all greyhounds in Victoria must be muzzled and leashed when outside the premises of their owner. In addition, a person must not walk more than four (4) greyhounds at a time when in a public place.
Recently it was announced that the requirement for non-racing greyhounds to be muzzled in public will be removed from 1 January 2019. This will include retired greyhounds who have not undergone and passed a behavioural assessment as part of GRV's Greyhound Adoption Program.
Other dog ownership laws under the DA Act also apply to pet greyhounds. This includes requirements, such as registration, microchipping, and containment of dogs to their owner's property.
Exemptions to muzzling and leashing requirements
There are exceptions to the muzzling and leashing requirements in certain circumstances. For example, requirements to muzzle and leash greyhounds when in public places do NOT apply to greyhounds being:
- raced, coursed, exercised or trained upon land which the owner is authorised or entitled to use for that purpose
- exhibited for show purposes, or
- participating in obedience trials or classes and under the effective control of a responsible person.
Currently, greyhounds that have undergone and passed a behavioural assessment as part of GRV's Greyhound Adoption Program are also exempt from the requirement to be muzzled in public. As above, as of 1 January 2019, all pet greyhounds will be allowed to be unmuzzled in public.
Information for owners of GRV greyhounds
Greyhounds that are racing or breeding and remain registered with GRV are exempt from the following requirements under the DA Act:
- registering their greyhounds with local council and any associated council requirements (such as compulsory microchipping or desexing), and
- registering with their local council as a Domestic Animal Business and complying with the associated Code of Practice.
This is because these greyhounds are already registered with GRV (and uniquely identifiable) and are to comply with other requirements.
Owners of GRV greyhounds must ensure they comply with:
- Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds
- Local Council permit requirements where the number of greyhounds they house on their property exceeds the limits for their property type and zoning
- GRV rules and requirements.
All other requirements of the DA Act apply, including leashing/ muzzling requirements when in public places, along with not exercising more than four dogs at a time.
When a greyhound is no longer racing or breeding, they are classified as a pet greyhound and all dog ownership laws under the DA Act, including council registration, do apply.
Information for owners of GAP greyhounds
Greyhounds that have passed through GRV's Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP), do not need to be muzzled in public places. These dogs have been temperament tested and socialised prior to being made available for adoption. They are identifiable by their individually numbered, green GAP collar.
Note that all other legal requirements, such as registration with the local council in which they reside, still apply to GAP dogs and they must always be leashed when in public places.
Note: The muzzling exemption will not apply until 1 January 2019 to greyhounds adopted under other greyhound re-homing schemes, or to those greyhounds adopted from shelters or pounds.
General advice and information
For more information on responsible pet ownership call the Customer Service Centre on 136 186 (for the cost of a local call) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities as a dog owner, please contact your relevant local council.