Restricted breed dogs
Domestic Animals Amendment (Restricted Breed Dogs) Act 2017
The Domestic Animals Amendment (Restricted Breed Dogs) Act 2017 came into effect on 30 September 2017.
This Amendment Act amends the Domestic Animals Act 1994 dogs to:
- allow the registration of restricted breed dogs in Victoria
- clarify the dangerous dog status of guard dogs when retired to a residential premises
- increase the payments for registered dogs and cats made by councils to the Treasurer under section 69(1)(a) and (aa) of the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
More information is available here
Moratorium on euthanasia
The moratorium on euthanasia of restricted breed dogs ended on 30 September 2017. Restricted breed dogs may now be registered with councils in Victoria as long as owners comply with the strict controls in place.
Restricted breed dog definition
Restricted breed dogs are defined as dogs that fit the Approved Standard for Restricted Breed Dogs in Victoria (standard). These may be pure or cross bred American Pit Bull Terriers (or Pit Bull Terriers), Perro de Presa Canarios (or Presa Canario), Dogo Argentinos, Japanese Tosas, or Fila Brasileiros.
Restricted breed dogs have not attacked a person or animal or displayed signs of aggression, but they are considered a higher risk to community safety than other breeds of dogs.
Restricted breed dog ownership requirements
Where dogs are deemed by the council to meet the standard, they will be declared as a restricted breed. Owners have the right to appeal the council's decision through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Owners of restricted breed dogs must comply with a range of requirements, relating to housing, microchipping, desexing, and identifying their dogs. Restricted breed dogs must also be muzzled and leashed when being exercised off the property. Click here for full details of ownership requirements for Restricted Breed Dogs.
How do I report a suspected unregistered restricted breed dog, or a registered restricted breed dog not being kept according to prescribed requirements?
To report a restricted breed or dangerous dog, or a dog attack on a person or animal/pet call your local council. Alternatively you can call the Dangerous Dogs Hotline on 136 186. This number will connect you to the department's Customer Service Centre. When prompted, select option 1 – to report an animal offence including a dangerous dog.
What is the Dangerous Dogs Hotline?
The Dangerous Dogs Hotline gives the community an additional way of reporting dangerous dogs, or restricted breed dogs that may not be appropriately identified or housed.
The hotline operates between 8am and 6pm seven days a week and helps ensure local councils are alerted to reports of dangerous dogs.
All reports are recorded and information is forwarded to the relevant local council.
It is the Victorian Government's expectation that all dangerous dog reports received by local councils will be promptly investigated. Caller information will be provided to councils where consent to do so is obtained by the hotline operators. If a caller's details are provided, it is expected local councils will follow up with the resident to inform them of the outcome.
What to do if you think you have been sold a restricted breed dog
Contact the council and advise them of your concern. It is an offence for a person to sell, give or otherwise transfer the ownership of a restricted breed dog to you unless you are an immediate relative and ownership has been transferred as part of a deceased estate. The only other exception is if the owner surrenders the dog to a council pound or shelter for euthanasia.
You also have rights under consumer affairs legislation if the breed of the dog has been misrepresented. Contact the Consumer Affairs Victoria Helpline on 1300 55 81 81.
What to do if your dog has been declared restricted breed
The authorised officer must notify you in writing that your dog has been declared a restricted breed. At this point, you have the right to request from council the reason why your dog has been declared a restricted breed.
You can appeal the declaration that your dog a restricted breed dog by appealing this decision at VCAT within 14 days of receiving the declaration.
Telephone: 03 9628 9830 or Toll Free 1800 133 055 (Country callers only).
Veterinarian/veterinary nurses and restricted breed dogs
There is no obligation to report to council any dog that you believe to be of a restricted breed. It would be advisable to inform the owner that their dog may be considered to be of a restricted breed and that if they are concerned they should contact their local council for more information.
What happens if a restricted breed dog is involved in a serious or fatal attack?
Owners are subject to criminal offences if their dog kills or endangers the life of someone. Owners can be jailed for up to 10 years if their dog kills someone, or for up to 5 years if their dog endangers someone's life. Where the owner of a dog is under the age of 18 years, the parent or guardian of that owner will be deemed the legal owner of the dog and subject to any penalties.