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A menacing dog is a dog that has:

  • Displayed unreasonable aggression towards an animal (other than vermin) or person; or
  • Without provocation, attacked an animal (other than vermin) or person but has not caused serious injury or death.

An authorised officer of a Local Council may declare a dog to be menacing if:

  • It believes the dog to meet the definition of a menacing dog; or
  • The dog is of a breed that is in-of-itself considered menacing;
  • The dog in question has been declared a menacing dog in another State.

Prior to making a declaration of a menacing dog, the authorised officer must serve notice on the owner of the dog of its intention to make the declaration. The notice will set out the immediate obligations of the dog owner and will inform the owner of their right to object to the making of a declaration within a period of 7 days.

As from the date the notice is served, the owner must ensure the dog is always leashed and muzzled if outside its enclosure and it must be registered. A failure to comply with these requirements is an offence and a penalty notice may be issued to the owner.

If the owner submits an objection to the making of a declaration of a menacing dog, the authorised officer must consider the objection when deciding whether to proceed with the declaration.

If the declaration is made, the owner must be notified of any additional obligations they face as the owner of a menacing dog and that the dog may be seized and destroyed if the dog attacks a person or animal without provocation, or if the owner fails to comply with their obligations on two or more occasions. A failure to comply with the obligations of an owner of a menacing dog is an offence and a penalty notice may be issued.

A declaration of a menacing dog is not appealable to the Court. It is therefore important to ensure that any objections are made at the time the owner receives notice of the authorised officer’s intention to make the declaration.

Additional to the authorised officer of a Local Council, a Local Court can declare a dog to be a menacing dog during the course of other proceedings.

If you have been served with notice of an intention to declare your dog a menacing dog, or if you have been issued with a penalty notice for a breach of your obligations, we recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

You may wish to contact our office and arrange an appointment to see one of our Animal Law & Pet Law Solicitors in our Sydney office. By appointment, we can also arrange a time for you to see one of our lawyers at a branch office. For a complete listing please see our "Locations" tab.

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This webpage (and any material or wording appearing on this webpage) is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute any Legal Advice. It does not take into account your objectives, your instructions or all of the relevant facts and/or circumstances. Navado accepts no responsibility to any person who relies on the information provided on this website. We further refer you to our Disclaimer.

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