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The Companion Animals legislation incorporates control provisions for Restricted dogs, dogs that are declared as Dangerous or Menacing including penalties for non compliance. The following information outlines those responsibilities for owners of Restricted, Dangerous and Menacing dogs under the Companion Animals Act 1998 and the Companion Animals Regulation 1999. (see Office of Local Government Dangerous and Menacing Dogs or Restricted Dogs )

Along with owners responsibilities of Restricted, Dangerous and Menacing dogs, Council has a general duty under the Act to take such steps as are necessary to ensure they are aware of the existence of all Dangerous, Restricted and Menacing dogs that are kept in their areas.

Officers authorised under the Act now have increased powers to seize a Restricted, Dangerous or Menacing dog if the officer is satisfied that any of the control requirements have not been complied with in relation to the dog. Council law enforcement officers (Rangers) and police apply these requirements.

The registered owner of a dog in New South Wales must be over 18 years of age.

Owners of Restricted, Dangerous and Menacing dogs must notify the council in the area where the dog is ordinarily kept within 24 hours if:

  • The dog has attacked or injured a person or animal.
  • The animal cannot be found.
  • The animal has died.
  • The dog is being kept at a different address in the area of the council.
  • The dog is being kept outside the council area.

Dangerous Dogs

A declared Dangerous dog is a dog that an authorised council officer or a local court has declared as dangerous because it:

  • has, without provocation, attacked or killed a person or animal, or,

  • has, without provocation, repeatedly threatened to attack or repeatedly chased a person or animal, or,

  • is kept or used for hunting (not including a dog used for locating, flushing, pointing or retrieving birds or vermin), or

  • has been declared a Dangerous dog under a law or another State or a Territory that corresponds with the Companion Animals Act.

'Dangerous dogs' in NSW are dogs that are the subject of a declaration under the Act by a council or a court that the dog is considered dangerous.

Council must have given notice to the owner of a dog of the council's intention to declare the dog to be dangerous.

Menacing Dogs

A declared Menacing dog is a dog that an authorised council officer or a local court has declared as Menacing because it:

  • has, displayed unreasonable aggression towards a person or animal (other than vermin), or

  • has, without provocation, attacked a person or animal (other than vermin) but without causing serious injury or death, or

  • has been declared a Menacing dog under a law of another State or a Territory that corresponds with the Act.

Restricted Dog Breeds

It is an offence in New South Wales to sell, acquire or breed dogs on the Restricted Dog List.

Restricted dogs in NSW are the same as those currently on the Prohibited List of Importations into Australia. However, changes to the legislation also include offspring of Restricted dogs on the list, as follows:

  1. American Pitbull terrier or Pitbull Terrier
  2. Japanese Tosa
  3. Dogo Argentino (Argentinean fighting dog)
  4. Fila Brasiliero (Brazilian fighting dog)
  5. Any dog declared by a council under Division 6 of the Act to be a restricted dog**
  6. Any other dog of a breed kind, or description prescribed by the Regulation for the purposes of this section.

**This means any dog where the council is of the opinion that a dog is of a breed or kind of dog on the restricted dog list or a cross-breed of any such breed or kind of dog.

Council Declared Restricted Dogs

If a council issues a dog owner with a 'Notice of Intention to Declare a Dog to be a Restricted Dog' under Division 6, the owner has 28 days in which to complete the process where they may elect to have the dog's breed and temperament assessed.

Enclosure requirements for Restricted and Dangerous dogs as prescribed by the regulations:

The Companion Animals Act requires the enclosure:

  • to be fully enclosed, constructed and maintained so that the dog cannot escape under, over or through the enclosure
  • to be constructed so that a person cannot have access to it without the assistance of an occupier of the property who is above the age of 16 years
  • to be designed to prevent children from having access to the enclosure
  • not be located on the property in such a way that people are required to pass through the enclosure to gain access to other parts of the property
  • to have a minimum height and width of 1.8 m
  • to have an area of not less than 10 square metres for each dangerous or restricted dog kept on the property
  • to have walls that are fixed to the floor and constructed to be no more than 50 mm from the floor
  • to have walls, a fixed covering and a gate that are constructed of brick, timber, iron or similar solid materials,or chain mesh manufactured from at least 3.15 mm wire or weldmesh manufactured from at least 4 mm wire with a maximum mesh spacing of 50 mm, or a combination
  • have a floor that is constructed of sealed concrete and graded to fall to a drain for the removal of effluent
  • provide a weatherproof sleeping area.

Owners of Restricted dogs and those dogs declared Dangerous are to comply with the prescribed enclosure requirements within 3 months from the relevant date or the date of the declaration.

Information Sheet

If you wish to obtain copies of the sections of the Companion Animals Act 1998 or clauses of the Companion Animals Regulation 1999 that set out the requirements listed below, please contact this Council, download from http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/, or contact Salmat: Print on Demand, Level 3 McKell Building, 2-24 Rawson Place Sydney NSW 2000, telephone 1300 656 986 for information about purchasing printed copies.

Control Requirements for Restricted, Dangerous and Menacing Dogs Under Section 56 of the Companion Animals Act 1998

Your responsibilities

  • The owner of a restricted or declared dangerous dog must ensure that each of the control requirements listed under section 51 of the Act is complied with.
  • All restricted, dangerous and menacing dogs must now by law be desexed.
  • The dog must not at any time be in the sole charge of a person under 18 years of age.
  • While a restricted or dangerous dog is on the property on which the dog is ordinarily kept, the dog must be kept in an enclosure that complies with the requirements prescribed by the regulations.

Control Requirements

An Owner of a Restricted, Dangerous and Menacing dog must comply with the below control requirements;

Desexing

  • Restricted, Dangerous and Menacing dogs must all be desexed.

Warning signs for Restricted, Dangerous and Menacing dogs

  • One or more signs are to be displayed on the property (and the enclosure in which a restricted or dangerous dog is ordinarily kept) and they must comply with the following requirements:

  1. the sign must be no smaller than 40 cm × 40 cm
  2. the sign must be made of durable materials
  3. the sign must show the words “Warning Dangerous Dog” in letters:
    1. that are of sufficient size so as to be clearly visible from the boundaries of the property, and
    2. that are, in any case, at least 50 mm high and 10 mm wide.

A Restricted, Dangerous or Menacing dog may be seized if the control requirements are not complied with:

  • The owner of a Restricted, Dangerous or Menacing dog is prohibited from selling or giving away the dog
  • The owner of a Restricted, Dangerous or Menacing dog is prohibited from breeding with the dog
  • A Distinctive collar must be worn.

The collar must comply with the following requirements and must be worn by the dog at all times:

  1. consist of red stripes alternatively spaced with yellow stripes each being a width of 25 mm and set diagonal to the rim of the collar at an angle of 45 degrees, and
  2. at least one of the 2 colours reflects light in the dark, and
  3. it is made of durable materials, and
  4. it is able to be securely fastened, and
  5. it has a device or other facility that enables it to be attached to a leash, and
  6. have a minimum width of:
    1. 25 mm for a dog weighing less than 20 kg, or
    2. 40 mm for a dog weighing between 20 kg and 40 kg, or
    3. 50 mm for a dog weighing more than 40 kg.
  • The dog must not at any time be in the sole charge of a person under the age of 18 years
  • A Menacing Dog when outside the premises where the dog is ordinarily kept:

  1. must be under the effective control of some competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by (or secured to) the person, and
  2. must be muzzled in a manner that is sufficient to prevent it from biting any person or animal.
  • A Restricted or Dangerous dog when outside its enclosure, the dog:

  1. must be under the effective control of some competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by (or secured to) the person, and
  2. must be muzzled in a manner that is sufficient to prevent it from biting any person or animal.

A dog is not considered to be under the effective control of a person if the person has more than 2 dogs (one of which is the restricted/ dangerous/menacing dog) under his or her control at the one time.

The owner must notify the council of the area in which the dog is ordinarily kept of the following matters within the time specified in relation to each of those matters:

  1. that the dog (with or without provocation) has attacked or injured a person or animal (other than vermin)—notice to be given within 24 hours after the attack or injury
  2. that the dog cannot be found—notice to be given within 24 hours after the dog’s absence is first noticed
  3. that the dog has died—notice to be given in writing as soon as practicable after the death
  4. that the dog is no longer being ordinarily kept in the area of the council—notice to be given as soon as practicable after the change of location
  5. that the dog is being ordinarily kept at a different location in the area of the council—notice to be given as soon as practicable after the change of location.

The Dog must be Registered

The dog must be registered regardless of its age. This can be done at any office of the Tweed Shire Council either in Tumbulgum Road Murwillumbah, Cnr Brett and Wharf Street Tweed Heads or at Council's Dog and Cat Impounding Facility at Leddays Creek Road Stotts Creek.

Enclosure Requirements

While the Restricted or Dangerous dog is on the property on which it is ordinarily kept, the dog must be kept in an enclosure that complies with the following requirements.

The enclosure must:

  1. be fully enclosed, constructed and maintained in such a way so that the dog is not able to dig or otherwise escape under, over or through the enclosure, and
  2. be constructed in such a way so that a person cannot have access to it without the assistance of an occupier of the property who is above the age of 16 years, and
  3. be designed to prevent children from having access to the enclosure, and
  4. not be located on the property in such a way so that people are required to pass through the enclosure to gain access to other parts of the property, and
  5. have a minimum height of 1.8 m and a minimum width of 1.8 m, and
  6. have an area of not less than 10 square metres for each dangerous or restricted dog kept on the property, and
  7. have walls that are fixed to the floor and constructed to be no more than 50 mm from the floor, and
  8. have walls, a fixed covering and a gate that are constructed of:
    1. brick, timber, iron or similar solid materials, or
    2. Mesh as described below:
  9. chain mesh manufactured from at least 3.15 mm wire to form a maximum mesh spacing of 50 mm, or
  10. weldmesh manufactured from at least 4 mm wire with a maximum mesh spacing of 50 mm.
    1. a combination of the materials referred to in subparagraphs (i) and (ii), and
  11. have a floor that is constructed of sealed concrete and graded to fall to a drain for the removal of effluent, and
  12. provide a weatherproof sleeping area.

Any gate to the enclosure must:

  1. contain a self-closing and self-latching mechanism that enables the enclosure to be securely locked when the dog is in the enclosure, and
  2. be kept locked when the dog is in the enclosure, and
  3. display the warning sign referred to in clause 29.

Building Requirements

Building Requirements Associated with Enclosures For Dogs Declared as Dangerous and Restricted Dog Breeds

If you comply with the list of requirements below you will not need to lodge an application with Council to build the enclosure.

  • The enclosure must not be located within six (6) metres of the front boundary of a property.
  • If boundary fencing is utilised as part of the enclosure it cannot exceed two (2) metres in height without prior council approval.
  • Any roofed structure is not to exceed ten (10) metres square in area and the height of the roof should not exceed 2.4 metres. The roof structure must not be closer than 900 mm from any side boundary.
  • The enclosure must not be located over any Council sewer, sewer manhole or easement.
  • Any roof water from roofed area is to be connected in a manner that does not cause a nuisance to adjoining properties.

If you have any enquiries concerning the enclosure requirements please contact Council’s Compliance Section on 02 6670 2400.

Penalties

Penalties associated with breaches of the Control Requirements

  • Fail to comply with control requirements for Restricted/ Dangerous/Menacing Dogs $1320.00
  • Restricted/ Dangerous/Menacing dog not under effective control $1760.00
  • Restricted/ Dangerous/Menacing dog in prohibited place $1760.00
  • Restricted/ Dangerous/Menacing dog without collar and name tag $1320.00

The maximum penalty that a court may impose for breach of the control requirements of a Restricted/ Dangerous/Menacing dog is $55,000.00 or imprisonment for two (2) years, or both.

Failure to comply

An owner can be issued with a penalty notice of $1320 for failure to comply with any of the above control requirements and a court can impose a maximum $16,500 fine if a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog attacks or bites another person or if an incident is the result of the owner's failure to comply with any one of the requirements of sections 51 or 56 of the Act.

Last Updated: 01 July 2016