Dog Attacks, Dangerous Dogs and Restricted Breeds

You are responsible for your dog’s actions. It is an offence for a dog to attack, harass or chase a person, or another animal owned by a person.

Preventing dog bites is always preferred. If a dog rush or attack occurs, Council plays a big role in investigating the incident.

What to do if a dog rushes or attacks you, your family or pet

  1. If needed, immediately seek medical or veterinary attention. Keep copies of any medical certificates, vet or doctor bills as evidence.
  2. As soon as it's safe to do so, phone the Council about the dog attack on 9262 6333. Victoria Police can also assist.
  3. This is a serious incident and time is a critical factor in dealing with dog attacks, especially if the offending dog is still wandering and still posing a risk to the public or other animals.
  4. Gather as much information as you can for Council Community Laws officers about the incident including:
  • The date, time and exact location of the attack. If you’re not sure, use your GPS equipped smart phone to check on the map or the nearest street sign
  • A description of the offending dog – any details that you have - registration tag, name tag, breed, colour, sex, markings, collar size and colour. These things can help ensure we identify the correct dog
  • A description of the owner – name, address, contact phone number, male or female, age,  hair colour, clothing
  • If a car was involved and the offender drove away with the dog – car registration number, make, model and colour can assist us to track down the dog’s owner, and
  • A description and photographs of any injuries and location on your body or your pet's body

Once informed of the incident, Council Community Laws Officers will:

  • Attend as soon as possible and if the dog is still a threat or if Council is notified after the attack, an officer will contact you and make a time to speak with you
  • Take a statement from all people involved in the attack including witnesses
  • Photograph any injuries to yourself or your animals
  • Contact the dog's owner to get their side of the incident
  • Seek other evidence that may be relevant
  • Assess the circumstances and evidence and make a decision for action
  • Issue appropriate legal notices
  • Inform the parties of the outcome.

Possible Outcomes

Depending on the severity of the attack, Council can:

The owner of a declared or deemed dangerous or restricted breed dog must apply to council for permission to register and keep the dog in the council area.

Guard Dogs

A dog that is kept for the purpose of guarding non-residential property is automatically deemed to be a dangerous dog under the Domestic Animals Act 1994

The owners of guard dogs, patrol dogs and attack trained dogs must meet a number of conditions to keep the dog. These include:

  • Notification of where the dog is housed
  • Enclosure requirements 
  • Requirements for wearing a collar and being kept on a lead and muzzled when off their property.

For more information visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

Restricted Breed Dogs

Restricted breed dogs are defined as dogs that fit the Approved Standard for Restricted Breed Dogs in Victoria. These may be pure or cross bred:

  • American Pit Bull Terriers (or Pit Bull Terriers)
  • Perro de Presa Canarios (or Presa Canario)
  • Dogo Argentinos
  • Japanese Tosas
  • Fila Brasileiros.

Restricted breed dogs do not have to attacked a person or animal or displayed signs of aggression. They are considered a higher risk to community safety than other breeds of dogs.