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Dangerous and menacing dogs

Eurobodalla Council is responsible for keeping the public safe from dogs that are a restricted breed or have been declared dangerous or menacing. Council has the authority to act on complaints about dog attacks.

The terms "restricted" "dangerous" and "menacing" have specific legal meanings, and there are certain rules that owners of these dogs must follow.

Under NSW legislation, restricted breeds can no longer be sold or given away in New South Wales. It is illegal to accept ownership of such a dog. If you already own a dog that is a restricted breed, you must desex and register it with Council.

If your dog is a restricted breed, or formally declared to be dangerous, you are required to pay a $195 annual permit in addition to the one-off lifetime pet registration fee.

Council may declare a dog to be restricted if it is a:

  • Japanese tosa
  • dogo Argentino
  • Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario
  • fila Brasileiro
  • American pit bull terrier or pit bull terrier
  • any other dog of a breed, kind or description whose importation into Australia is prohibited by or under the Customs Act 1901 of the Commonwealth.

If your dog is reported by a member of the public to us, or a Council Ranger suspects your dog is one of these breeds (or a cross-breed), and you haven't notified Council, we will investigate and possibly declare the dog a restricted breed.

Read more about restricted dogs on the NSW Office of Local Government website.

Council may declare a dog to be dangerous if it:

  • has, without provocation, attacked or killed a person or animal (excluding vermin), or
  • has, without provocation, repeatedly threatened to attack or repeatedly chased a person or animal (excluding vermin), or
  • is kept or used for the purposes of hunting (not including a dog used for locating, flushing, pointing or retrieving birds or vermin)
  • has been declared a dangerous dog under a law of another State or a Territory that corresponds with the Companion Animals Act 1998.

If your dog is a restricted breed, or formally declared to be dangerous, you are required to pay a $195 annual permit in addition to the one-off lifetime pet registration fee.

Read more about declared dangerous dogs on the NSW Office of Local Government website.

Council may declare a dog to be menacing if 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
  • has been declared a menacing dog under a law of another State or a Territory that corresponds with the Companion Animals Act 1998.

If you have evidence that a dog is dangerous or menacing, you should notify Council.

Read more about dangerous or menacing dogs on the NSW Office of Local Government website.

Owners of restricted breeds and declared dangerous dogs must follow these rules, which include:

  • The dog must be desexed, microchipped and registered.
  • Owners are required to pay a $195 annual permit, in addition to their one-off lifetime pet registration fee. Owners will be able to pay for this permit via the NSW Pet Registry website or at Council.
  • The dog must not, at any time, be in the sole charge of a person under the age of 18 years.
  • At home, the dog must be kept in a certified purpose-built enclosure and warning signs must be displayed on the property.
  • The dog must wear a securely fitted muzzle when outside its enclosure (at home or in a public place).
  • When outside the enclosure, the dog must wear a distinctive red and yellow striped collar and be walked on a secure chain or lead at all times.
  • Council must be notified of the following within 24 hours if the dog:
    • has attacked or injured a person or animal
    • is lost or missing
    • has died
    • is being kept at a different address in Eurobodalla Shire
    • is being kept outside the Eurobodalla Shire area.

Menacing dogs: Must comply with the same control requirements as dangerous dogs outlined above, with one exception - menacing dogs do not need to be kept in a purpose-built enclosure at home.

Council must give you notice of its intention to declare your dog to be dangerous, menacing or restricted. Once the notice has been given, you, as the owner, must ensure that your dog is confined lawfully at the property where your dog is ordinarily kept.

You have a right to object to the proposed declaration, and your objection must be made in writing to Council within seven days after the date the notice was given. You may provide evidence in support of your objection, which may include a behavioural assessment from a professional behavioural assessor. If you object within the seven days, Council must consider your objection before making the declaration. However, if you decide not to object within that timeframe, Council may finalise the declaration.

Notification of decision to declare a dog dangerous or menacing

Council must give you notice if it declares, or decides not to declare, your dog to be dangerous or menacing. A dangerous/menacing dog declaration has effect from the date specified in the notice or the date on which the notice is given.

Once a declaration is made, you must comply with the requirements for dangerous or menacing dogs outlined in the Companion Animals Act 1998 and the Companion Animals Regulation 2018. If you fail to meet these requirements, you may be issued with a Penalty Notice.

Revoking a declaration of a dangerous or menacing dog

If your dog has been declared a dangerous or menacing dog, you can apply to Council for the declaration to be revoked after a period of 12 months has passed since your dog was declared to be dangerous or menacing.

Any dog can attack. Dog attacks are caused mostly by dogs outside their owner's property. Keeping your dog securely confined to your property and following the rules of responsible pet ownership will help prevent your dog attacking someone.

Dog attacks on children occur mostly in the yard of their own home or another person's home. Dogs tend to attack or bite out of fear or an attempt to dominate. Children are often vulnerable targets for a dog attack, even from a dog they know and love. They may provoke aggressive responses by inadvertently challenging the dog or intruding into its territory.

Most injuries to children are inflicted on the head or face. Always supervise your dog around children. Children should be taught not to put their face close to a dog's mouth, and not to hug dogs tightly or tease them. Teach your children not to pat a strange dog, a dog which is tied up, a dog which has been left in a car, or a dog which is eating.

More information

For all animal enquiries, please contact Council's Rangers on: