Dog Regulations (Qld)
Nearly 40% of all Queensland households have a dog. Dog ownership provides many benefits, from companionship to health improvements. However, dogs can also pose risks to other animals and people. In 2021, Brisbane City Council received 540 dog attack reports, ultimately declaring 65 of these dogs dangerous or menacing. In Queensland, the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 regulates restricted breeds and declared dangerous and menacing dogs. This article explains these dog regulations in Queensland.
Breed-Specific Dog Regulations
There are two types of breed-specific dog regulations in Australia. Under the federal Customs Act 1901 (Cth), it is prohibited to import restricted breeds. These breeds include the American Pit Bull, Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, Perro de Presa Canario and Presa Canario. Crucially, this importation ban does not prohibit ownership of restricted breeds. Under federal legislation, someone can own a restricted breed as long as they comply with state and local council regulations.
Some local and state authorities completely ban the ownership of restricted breeds within their jurisdiction. Other local governments allow ownership of restricted dog breeds under strict restrictions. For instance, Queensland residents cannot keep a restricted dog without a local council restricted dog permit. An owner must muzzle the dog in public and comply with fence and enclosure requirements. The Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 also prohibits the breeding of restricted dogs. Owners must desex their restricted dog and tattoo proof of the procedure on the animal. It is also prohibited to sell, buy or give away a restricted breed under legal penalty.
Dangerous And Menacing Dog Declarations
The list of restricted dogs is specific and finite. However, any breed or size of dog can be declared menacing or dangerous because of its behaviour. In Queensland, a local government or council officer can declare that a dog is dangerous or menacing if it attacks or frightens another animal or person. Crucially, an authorised person can also make this declaration on the basis that the dog is likely to attack or terrify another animal or person. This is a subjective assessment, reliant on the judgement of the authorised person. Therefore, under administrative law provisions, a dog owner can challenge a dangerous or menacing dog declaration. The dog owner should seek legal advice to challenge the declaration if they feel that the process was unfair or biased.
Regulated Dog Ownership Requirements
The owner of a restricted, declared dangerous or menacing dog must comply with specific requirements. The owner must:
- Microchip the dog;
- Keep the dog in a council approved enclosure that complies with set requirements. For instance, it must be child-proof, and the dog must be unable to escape or protrude from the enclosure;
- Display signage and public notices at each entrance to the dog’s enclosure to inform the public of the presence of a regulated animal;
- Use a specific recognisable regulated dog collar at all times;
- Keep the dog under control in public places. Only a physically capable adult can walk a regulated dog on a leash, and this person must not be handling any other dogs at the same time;
- Desex dangerous and restricted dogs;
- Muzzle dangerous and restricted dogs in public places;
- Obtain a permit for a restricted dog from the local council; and
- Comply with all other relevant local council laws.
Dog Regulations: Restricted Dog Collars
Previously, regulated dogs in Queensland were obligated to wear distinctive collars, but there was no enforced uniformity across different councils. The collar requirement changed on 1 January 2022 to a specific yellow and red striped collar with a yellow identification tag. The collar must be durable and securely fastened around the dog’s neck. Each stripe must be 25mm wide and diagonal at 45 degrees. At least one of the colours must be reflective in low light. A mandatory distinctive collar promotes responsible management of regulated dogs and allows the council and public to quickly identify a regulated dog.
Dog Regulations: Dangerous Dog Warning Signs
In Queensland, there are three different dog warning signs. BEWARE DANGEROUS DOG, BEWARE MENACING DOG, and BEWARE RESTRICTED DOG. A dog owner should post the appropriate sign for the dog’s designation. The signs must be durable, with a yellow background and black border, measuring at least 360mm x 260mm. The main text must be written in 50mm black lettering. It must also say in black lettering of at least 15mm: “declared under the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008, chapter 4”. All text must be legible and indelible.
Owners can bear legal liability for their dog’s actions. Armstrong Legal can help if you have questions about your legal responsibilities as the owner of a regulated, menacing or dangerous dog. The team can help you legally challenge a dangerous or menacing declaration or appeal a destruction order. For legal advice on this issue, renting with a pet, pet ownership and making provision for a pet in your will, please contact 1300 038 223.