Dog owners, menacing dogs, dangerous dogs and the law

201410.21
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Provisions for the control of DANGEROUS DOG in Victoria

Domestic Animals Act 1994  

s34.   Council may declare a dog to be dangerous  

34A.Dangerous dogs  

  1. 41. Restraint ofdangerous dogsoff the owner's premises  

Notes:.

Assuming the dog does not fall under s 34A of the Domestic Animals Act , it will not be considered a dangerous dog until declared so by a Council - and before making such a declaration, Council must first notify the owner and allow the owner an opportunity to respond.  Causing serious injury to an animal is grounds for Council to propose that a dog be declared dangerous.

The Act defines a "dangerous dog" as one which:

(a)has been declared to be dangerous by a Council under Part 3; or

(b)by virtue of the operation of section 34A is a dangerous dog.

 

Declarations under Pt 3

A Council may declare a dog to be dangerous if (amongst other things):

(a) it has caused serious injury to an animal by biting or attacking that animal: s 34(1)(a); or

(b) if there has been a finding of guilt or the serving of an infringement notice (which has not been withdrawn and the penalty has been paid under the Infringements Act 2006) in respect of 2 or more offences under section 29(5), (6), (7) or (8) in respect of the dog: s 34(1)(ca).

If the Council proposes that a dog be declared dangerous and the proposal does not arise from an application from the owner, the Council must notify the owner and allow the owner the opportunity to make both written and oral submissions to the Council: s 35.

Section 34A

Section 34A provides that a dog is dangerous if it is kept as a guard dog for the purpose of guarding non-residential premises, or it has been trained to attack or bite any person or any thing when attached to or worn by a person.

MENACING DOGS

Division 3A--Particular provisions for the control of menacing dogs

Menacing dogs

A Council may declare a dog to be a menacing dog if it has rushed at or chased a person or the dog bites any person or animal causing injury to that person or animal that is not in the nature of a serious injury: s 41(a) and (ab).  As above, if Council proposes that a dog be declared menacing it must notify the owner and allow the owner the opportunity to make both written and oral submissions to the Council: s 42(1).

A notice that a dog has been declared to be a menacing dog may require the owner to cause the dog, when it is outside the premises of its owner, to be muzzled and/or under effective control by means of a chain, cord or leash: s 41E(1).  The owner must also notify Council within 24 hours if (amongst other things) the dog is missing, and it rushes at or chases a person, the owners address changes etc: s 41D.

If your dog has been involved in an incident with another animal or a person, whether there is injury or not, it is important to consult your lawyer as there are potentially significant consequences.

  1. 3(1) def. ofserious injuryinserted by No. 65/2007 s. 5(1)(a).

"serious injury" means—

(a) an injury requiring medical or veterinary attention in the nature of—

(i) a broken bone; or

(ii) a laceration; or

(iii) a partial or total loss of sensation or function in a part of the body; or

(b) an injury requiring cosmetic surgery;

  1. 3(1) def. oflacerationinserted by No. 65/2007 s. 5(1)(a).

"laceration" means a wound caused by—

(a) the tearing of body tissue; or

(b) multiple punctures caused by more than one bite from a dog;

A dog is a ’dangerous dog’ if—

(a) the dog is kept as a guard dog for the purpose of guarding non-residential premises; or

(b) the dog has been trained to attack or bite any person or any thing when attached to or worn by a person.

Council may declare a dog to be dangerous

(1) A Council may declare a dog to be a dangerous dog

  1. 34(1)(a) amended by Nos 87/2000 s. 15(a), 65/2007 s. 14(1).

(a) if the dog has caused the death of or serious injury to a person or animal by biting or attacking that person or animal; or

  1. 34(1)(b) substituted by No. 87/2000 s. 15(b).

(b) if the dog is a menacing dog and its owner has received at least 2 infringement notices in respect of the offence in section 41E; or

Procedure for declaring a menacing dog

(1) If the Council proposes that a dog be declared a menacing dog, the Council must—

(a) notify the owner; and

(b) allow the owner the opportunity to make both written and oral submissions to the Council.