What is a restricted dog?
In NSW, a restricted dog is one of the following:
- American pitbull terrier or Pitbull terrier
- Japanese tosa
- dogo Argentino (Argentinean fighting dog)
- fila Brasiliero (Brazilian fighting dog)
- 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 (Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario)
- Any dog declared by an authorised officer of a council, under division 6 of the Companion Animals Act 1998, to be a restricted dog.
If you own a restricted dog and it attacks or injures a person or an animal (other than vermin) without being provoked, you must report it to your local council within 24 hours of the attack or injury.
What must you do if you have been issued with a Notice of Intention to Declare a Dog to be a Restricted Dog by your local council?
If you are issued with a Notice of Intention to Declare a Dog to be a Restricted Dog, you must follow all instructions in the notice. You must also immediately ensure that the dog is contained securely within its property so that it cannot chase or attack any person lawfully at the property.
When outside its property the dog must be muzzled and secured by a leash under the control by a competent person. The dog must also be lifetime registered with the local council within 7 days.
Note: Where the owner of a dog issued with a Notice of Intention to declare a dog a restricted dog fails to comply with any of the above requirements an authorised council officer may seize the dog.
If you wish to contest the notice, you have 28 days. You may obtain a certificate confirming that your dog is not of a restricted breed or cross breed of a restricted breed from an approved breed assessor.
If you do not obtain a certificate or your dog is certified as a pure breed restricted dog, your dog will be declared a restricted dog.
If your dog is assessed as a cross-breed of a restricted breed, you may obtain a certificate from an approved temperament assessor stating that your dog does not pose a threat to the community or is not likely, without provocation, to bite any person or animal.
If you do not obtain a certificate or your dog fails the temperament assessment, your dog will be declared a restricted dog.
Control measures for restricted dogs
If you are the owner of a restricted dog, you must ensure that:
- your dog is microchipped and lifetime registered
- your dog is desexed (or permanently sterilised)
- your dog is contained in an enclosure that complies with the requirements of clause 24 of the Companion Animals Regulation 2008 when on the premises where normally kept (you must also obtain a certificate of compliance from your local council, certifying that the enclosure meets the regulatory requirements)
- your dog wears a muzzle and is securely leashed at all times when outside the enclosure
- your dog wears a prescribed collar at all times
- you prominently display dangerous dog warning signs on the premises where your dog is normally kept
- your dog is not left at any time in the sole charge of a person under 18 years of age
- you notify the local council of the area in which your dog is ordinarily kept if: •your dog has attacked or injured a person or animal (other than vermin) with or without provocation (must notify within 24 hours of the attack or injury). It is also an offence under the Companion Animals Act 1998 to encourage a dog to attack a person or an animal
- your dog cannot be found (must notify within 24 hours of your dog’s absence first being noticed)
- your dog has died (must notify as soon as practicable after the dog’s death)
- your dog will no longer be ordinarily kept in the same council area
- your dog will ordinarily be kept at a different location in the same council area
- you do not breed from, or advertise as available for breeding, your dog prior to desexing
- you do not transfer ownership of your dog. It is also an offence for someone to accept ownership of a restricted dog
- you do not sell (sell includes giving away) your dog or advertise it for sale.
If you fail to comply with these requirements, you may be liable for large fines or imprisonment and your dog may be seized and destroyed.
For more information on these control requirements contact your local council.
Penalties relating to restricted dogs
Offence under Companion Animals Act 1998 Imprisonment provision Maximum penalty amountRestricted dog rushes at/attacks/harasses/chases person or animal No 400 penalty units/$44,000 Restricted dog rushes at/attacks/harasses/chases person or animal as a result of a reckless act or omission by the dog’s owner or another person in charge of the dog at the time of the attack 4 years and/or 500 units/$55,000 Restricted dog attacks or bites a person due to failure to comply with control requirements 5 years (and permanent disqualification from owning a dog or being in charge of a dog in a public place in NSW) 700 penalty units/$77,000 Failure to comply with control requirements for a restricted dog No 150 penalty units/$16,500 Selling or advertising for sale a restricted dog No 150 penalty units/$16,500 Accepting ownership of a restricted dog No 150 penalty units/$16,500 Breeding or advertising as available to breed a restricted dog No 150 penalty units/$16,500Encouraging a restricted dog to attack 5 years (and permanent disqualification from owning a dog or from being in charge of a dog in NSW) 700 penalty units/$77,000
What must you do if your restricted dog goes missing or dies?
If your dog is a restricted dog and it goes missing, you must notify your local council within 24 hours of first noticing that your dog has gone missing.
Your local council will change the status of your dog on the NSW Companion Animals Register to ‘missing’ and lock the microchip record, so that it cannot be changed until your dog is found. This prevents anyone from claiming to be your dog’s owner, for example, if it has been stolen. If you suspect that your dog may have been stolen, you may also wish to report this to NSW Police.
It is important to confirm that your contact details are correct when you report your dog as missing, so that you can be contacted when your dog is found.
You may also consider contacting local vets and approved animal welfare organisations, such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Animal Welfare League, to check if a dog with your dog’s microchip number or matching your dog’s description has been found.
If you own a restricted dog and it dies, you must notify your local council as soon as practicable after the dog’s death.