Amendments to the Companion Animals Act relating to restricted breeds of dog and dangerous dog came into force on the 13 January 2006.
The following types of dog are regarded as “Restricted breeds of Dog” for the purpose of the Companion Animals Act 1998 (the Act):
- Pit Bull Terriers
- American Pit Bull Terriers
- Japanese Tozas
- Argentinean Fighting Dog
- Brazilian Fighting Dog
Any other dog of a breed, kind or description prescribed by the Regulations as restricted for the purposes of this Division.
While the Act lists the above types of dog, the only breeds of restricted dog know to be available in Australia are the Pit Bull Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier.
Since the changes to the Act in January 2006, it is now illegal to sell, advertise for sale, give away or acquire a restricted breed dog.
Owners of restricted breed / declared dangerous dogs that are identified after the 13 January 2006 are required to comply with the following enclosure requirements within 3 months from the date of identification.
Owners are reminded that it is illegal to have a restricted breed dog that is not identified by means of a microchip implantation and a $1320 fine now applies:
Part 4 Dangerous and restricted dogs
28 Enclosure requirements for dangerous and restricted dogs
(1) For the purposes of sections 51 (1) (c) and 56 (1) (a1) of the Act, the requirements set out in subclauses
(2)–(4) are prescribed as the requirements that must be complied with in relation to an enclosure for a dangerous or restricted dog.
(2) The enclosure must:
(a) be fully enclosed, constructed and maintained in such a way so that the dog is not able to dig or otherwise escape under, over or through the enclosure, and
(b) be constructed in such a way so that a person cannot have access to it without the assistance of an occupier of the property who is above the age of 16 years, and
(c) be designed to prevent children from having access to the enclosure, and
(d) not be located on the property in such a way so that people are required to pass through the enclosure to gain access to other parts of the property, and
(e) have a minimum height of 1.8 m and a minimum width of 1.8 m, and
(f) have an area of not less than 10 square metres for each dangerous or restricted dog kept on the property, and
(g) have walls that are fixed to the floor and constructed to be no more than 50 mm from the floor, and
(h) have walls, a fixed covering and a gate that are constructed of:
(i) brick, timber, iron or similar solid materials, or
(ii) mesh that complies with subclause (4), or
(iii) a combination of the materials referred to in subparagraphs (i) and (ii), and
(i) have a floor that is constructed of sealed concrete and graded to fall to a drain for the removal of effluent, and
(j) provide a weatherproof sleeping area.
(3) Any gate to the enclosure must:
(a) contain a self-closing and self-latching mechanism that enables the enclosure to be securely locked when the dog is in the enclosure, and
(b) be kept locked when the dog is in the enclosure, and
(c) display the warning sign referred to in clause 29.
(4) Mesh used in the construction of an enclosure must be:
(a) chain mesh manufactured from at least 3.15 mm wire to form a maximum mesh spacing of 50 mm, or
(b) weldmesh manufactured from at least 4 mm wire with a maximum mesh spacing of 50 mm.
Owners of restricted/declared dangerous dogs are required to display a warning sign. These signs are available from Hawkesbury Council at a cost of $25. The requirements for the sign are:-
29 Warning signs for dangerous and restricted dogs
For the purposes of sections 51 (1) (d) and 56 (1) (c) of the Act, a sign to be displayed on the property on which a dangerous dog or restricted dog is ordinarily kept must comply with the following requirements:
(a) the sign must be no smaller than 40 cm × 40 cm,
(b) the sign must be made of durable materials,
(c) the sign must show the words “Warning Dangerous Dog” in letters:
(i) that are of sufficient size so as to be clearly visible from the boundaries of the property, and (ii) that are, in any case, at least 50 mm high and 10 mm wide.
Owners of restricted / declared dangerous dogs are also required to ensure that their dog has a distinctive collar worn at all times. The specific requirements are:-
30 Distinctive collars for dangerous and restricted dogs
For the purposes of sections 51 (1) (d1) and 56 (1) (c1) of the Act, a collar is of the prescribed kind if:
(a) it consists of red stripes alternatively spaced with yellow stripes each being a width of 25 mm and set diagonal to the rim of the collar at an angle of 45 degrees, and
(b) at least one of the 2 colours reflects light in the dark, and
(c) it is made of durable materials, and
(d) it is able to be securely fastened, and
(e) it has a device or other facility that enables it to be attached to a leash, and
(f) it has a minimum width of:
(i) 25 mm for a dog weighing less than 20 kg, or
(ii) 40 mm for a dog weighing between 20 kg and 40 kg, or
(iii) 50 mm for a dog weighing more than 40 kg.
Owners of restricted breed/declared dangerous dogs are required to ensure that during the 3 month period allowed by the regulations, that their animal is kept in a child proof enclosure. Any owner who is not able to comply with the regulations may have their animals seized and held, at their own cost, until they can comply with the regulations.
Owners of restricted breed dogs that were identified/and owners of dogs that were declared dangerous prior to 13th January, will have 6 months to comply with the new regulations, from a date that is yet to be decided by NSW Government.
Detailed information on the Companion Animals Act 1998 and the associated regulations can be obtained from www.legislation.nsw.gov.au
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