Australian law requires all dogs to be registered within the local government area in which they reside. This includes both domestic pets and working dogs. With an increasing number of dog attacks throughout Australia in the past decade, many states have now changed ownership regulations to better protect the wider community from dangerous dogs. This includes both prohibited breeds, types of dog that you are not allowed to own, as well as restricted breeds, which require a licence to keep.
Before you buy or adopt a dog, it is wise to check with your local council to see if there are any restrictions on the type of dog you would like to buy.
Declarations of dangerous dogs
Even with these restrictions in place, dog attacks continue to happen. Local councils have the power to declare any dog as ‘dangerous’ and impose restrictions on the owner.
Your dog may be declared dangerous if:
- it has attacked a person and left serious injury to either a human or other animal (not including vermin), or
- the owner of the dog has received a minimum of two infringement notices for their dog behaving in a menacing manner.
‘Serious injury’ includes all injuries that require medical or veterinary attention.
In most parts of Australia, owners of dangerous dogs are required to make their animal’s status known to anyone that may come across it.
All dangerous or menacing dogs must be desexed as soon as possible after being given a dangerous dog status, so they don’t breed and pass on their genes.
Restrictions on dangerous dogs
The dog must be muzzled and on a lead in public, and must be under the control of a person no younger than 17 years of age. The dog must wear a yellow and red striped collar to alert others to its nature. The premises in which the dog resides must have ‘dangerous dog’ signs posted at all entrances and must be confined behind a 1.8m solid or mesh fence, from which it cannot escape.
If you legitimately feel threatened by a dog, then inform your local council. If you’ve been attacked and injured by a dog, then it is best to get legal advice from a lawyer.