Menacing, Dangerous and Restricted Dogs
From 1 July 2020, the NSW Government introduced annual permits for restricted and dangerous dogs as part of its commitment to promoting responsible pet ownership and improving animal welfare standards. Find out more here.
Changes to the Companion Animals legislation means there are now increased control provisions for restricted and declared dangerous dogs with higher penalties for non-compliance.
Along with greater responsibilities for owners of restricted and dangerous dogs, local councils now have a duty under the Act to take all necessary steps to ensure they are aware of the existence of all dangerous and restricted dogs kept in their area. If you are aware of a restricted dog in your area, please contact Council's Customer Service Centre on 9952 8222.
Officers authorised under the Act have the powers to seize a restricted or dangerous dog if the officer is satisfied that any of the control requirements have not been complied with in relation to the dog.
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The registered owner of a dog in New South Wales must be over 18 years of age.
Owners of restricted and dangerous dogs must notify Council within 24 hours if the dog:
Has attacked or injured a person or animal
Cannot be found
Is being kept at a different address within the Council area
Is being kept outside the Council area.
Remember, all dogs in NSW including dangerous and restricted dogs MUST be microchipped and registered on the NSW Companion Animals Register.
Owners of restricted and declared dangerous dogs must ensure that each of the control requirements listed under section 51 and 56 of the Act and relevant parts of the Regulation are complied with:
- All restricted and dangerous dogs must now by law be desexed and it is an offence to sell or give away these dogs
- It is an offence to sell or give away a dangerous or restricted dog or sell or give away a dog subject to a notice of intention to declare dangerous or restricted
- The dog must not at any time be in the sole charge of a person under 18 years of age
- While the 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 (refer to enclosure requirements for restricted and dangerous dogs).
Council can advise you of these requirements in full.
One or more signs must be clearly displayed on the property showing the words 'Warning Dangerous Dog' in letters clearly visible from the boundaries of the property. Warning signs can be purchased from Council.
Dangerous and restricted dogs must at all times wear a distinctive collar required by the Regulation.
There are enclosure requirements for restricted and dangerous dogs as prescribed by the Companion Animals Regulation 2008. The Companion Animals Act requires the enclosure:
- To be fully enclosed, constructed and maintained so that the dog cannot dig or 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 18 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 1.8m and a minimum width of 1.8m
To have an area of not less than 10sqm 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 50mm 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 3.15mm wire or weldmesh manufactured from at least 4mm wire with a maximum mesh spacing of 50mm, or a combination
Have a floor that is constructed of sealed concrete and graded to fall to drain for the removal of effluent
Provide a weather-proof sleeping area of sufficient dimensions to enable each dangerous or restricted dog kept on the property to shelter from the wet
Any gate to the enclosure must be self-closing and self-latching that enables the enclosure to be securely locked when the dog is in the enclosure.
Owners of restricted dogs and those dogs declared dangerous are to comply with the prescribed enclosure requirements within three months from the date of the declaration and must obtain a compliance certificate for the enclosure from Council.
For further explanation of these requirements, see section 51 and section 56 of the Companion Animals Act and Regulation 24 of the Companion Animals Regulation 2008 or contact Council's Customer Service on 9952 8222.
Failure to Comply
An owner can be issued with a penalty notice of $1,320 for failure to comply with any of the above control requirements and a court can impose a maximum $55,000 or two years imprisonment or both can be applied if a dangerous 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 section 51 or 56 of the Act. Depending on the circumstances, these offences may also result in the seizure and destruction of a dog.
It is now 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 Companion Animals Act now include offspring of restricted dogs on that list, as follows:
American Pitbull Terrier or Pitbull Terrier
Dogo Argentino (Argentinean fighting dog)
Fila Brasiliero (Brazilian fighting dog)
Any dog declared by a council under Division 6 of the Act to be a restricted dog*
Any other dog of a breed kind, or description prescribed by the Regulations.
* This means any dog where Council is of the opinion that the dog is of a breed or dog on the restricted dog list, or a cross-breed of any such breed or dog.
Council-Declared Restricted Dogs
If 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 to complete the process where they may elect to have the dog’s breed and temperament assessed. If you receive such a notice you can contact us for further information.
A dog is dangerous if it has, without provocation:
Attacked or killed a person or animal
Repeatedly threatened to attack
Repeatedly chased a person or animal
Displayed unreasonable aggression towards a person or animal, or
Is kept or used for the purpose of hunting.
A dog is not, for the purposes of subsection (1) (d), to be regarded as being kept or used for the purposes of hunting if it is used only to locate, flush, point or retrieve birds or vermin. Vermin includes small pest animals only (such as rodents).
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 give notice to the owner of a dog of their intention to declare the dog to be dangerous. The owner of the dog has the right to appeal Councils decision within 7 days after the notice is given and if the dog owner is not satisfied with Councils decision may elect to Appeal to Local Court within 28 days of when the dog was declared dangerous.
Council may declare a dog a Menacing Dog if it is satisfied the dog has, without provocation:
- Displayed unreasonable aggression towards a person or animal (other than vermin), or
- Attacked a person or animal (other than vermin) but without causing serious injury or death.
The owners of dogs declared Menacing must comply with certain control requirements that include but are not limited to:
- The dog must be desexed (if not already desexed)
- The dog must be lifetime registered with Council
- The dog must wear a muzzle that is sufficient to prevent it from biting any person or animal when away from the property that it is normally kept
- The dog must be under effective control of a competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by the person
- The property where the dog is kept must display one or more signs showing words “WARNING DANGEROUS DOG”.
The dog must wear a distinctive collar, prescribed by the Companion Animals Regulation 2018, consisting of red stripes alternately spaced with yellow stripes and set diagonally. The collars come in three widths depending upon the size of the dog.
For more information on dangerous and menacing dogs, visit the Office of Local Government website.
Microchipping and Registration
In NSW, all cats and dogs, other than exempt cats and dogs, must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or before being sold or given away, whichever happens first.
All cats and dogs, other than exempt cats and dogs, must be registered by six months of age.
Discounted registration fees apply to desexed cats or dogs.
If you fail to microchip or register your cat or dog when required to do so you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice of up to $330, or a court may award a maximum penalty of up to $5500 or up to $6,500 if your dog is a restricted dog or a declared dangerous or menacing dog.
Find out more on our Registration and Microchipping page.
Annual Permits For Restricted and Dangerous Dogs
The NSW Government is introducing annual permits for restricted and dangerous dogs as part of its commitment to promoting responsible pet ownership and improving animal welfare standards.
From 1 July 2020 owners of dogs of a restricted breed or formally declared to be dangerous will be required to pay an annual permit in addition to their one-off lifetime pet registration fee. Pet owners will also be able to pay for annual permits using the NSW Pet Registry website or through their local council.
A list of registration categories and current fees are provided on the Office of Local Government’s (OLG) website. To view, click on 'Registration Fees' under the heading 'Key Information' at the bottom of the page.