15-31 – Managing Aggressive Dogs in the Community – Responsibilities of Councils

What this will mean for your council

  • Councils are reminded of responsibilities under the Companion Animals Act 1998 (the Act) to help protect their community against the risk of attacks by aggressive dogs.
  • Councils are also encouraged to conduct and maintain records of regular inspections of prescribed enclosures for categorised dogs.

Key points

  • Councils have authority to issue orders on the following dog categories:
    • Menacing: where the dog 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;
    • Dangerous: where the dog has, without provocation, attacked or killed a person or animal (other than vermin), or has, without provocation, repeatedly threatened to attack or repeatedly chased a person or animal (other than vermin), or is kept for the purposes of hunting.
    • Restricted: a dog identified as being a restricted breed under section 55 of the Act.
  • Owners of menacing, dangerous or restricted dogs must comply with each of the control requirements listed under the Act in respect of the category of dog, including but not limited to:
    • being registered, desexed, and enclosed when at home; and
    • ensuring the dog wears a prescribed collar and muzzle.
  • Strong penalties apply where an owner fails to comply with a classified dog order. An owner can be fined up to $77,000 and receive up to five years imprisonment if the dog attacks as a result of non-compliance.

Where to go for further information

  • Further information on the responsibilities of owners of dangerous, menacing and restricted dogs is contained in section 11 of the Guidelines on the exercise of functions under the Companion Animals Act available on the Office of Local Government’s website

Marcia Doheny
Chief Executive