If your dog has been declared a ‘dangerous dog’ you will need to adhere to certain regulations, including making sure your animal is de-sexed and muzzled when it is outside its enclosure.
Dangerous dogs must be kept in an enclosure that meets certain standards, and complies with rules about size, materials and construction.
There are a number of companies that make specifically designed dangerous dog enclosures, or you can make one yourself.
If you aren’t sure whether your dog enclosure meets the requirements, here is a brief guide to help you ensure your dangerous dog enclosure meets the minimum standards.
There are a number of regulations for dangerous dog enclosures in NSW, as set out in the Companion Animals Regulations 2008. These include:
- Minimum width and height of 1.8m.
- Secure so that the animal can’t escape over or under the walls.
- Inaccessible without the help of an owner of the property (who must be aged 18 or over).
- Walls must be fixed to the floor with no more than 50mm width between the bottom of the wall and the floor.
- Enclosure area of at least 10 square metres for each dangerous dog kept on the property.
- The floor must be constructed of sealed concrete and graded towards a drain.
- Must contain a weatherproofed sleeping area.
- Must have walls and a fixed covering as well as a gate that are constructed from solid materials, such as timber, iron and brick. Enclosures can also be made from chain mesh with at least 3.15mm wire, or weldmesh manufactured from at least 4mm wire, or a combination of the two. Maximum mesh spacing must be no more than 50mm.
- Positioned so that visitors and occupants do not need to pass through the enclosure to reach the residence.
If your dog has recently been declared dangerous, or if you have recently acquired a restricted dog, you have three months to comply with the requirements for a dangerous dog enclosure.
Once you have made or bought your enclosure, you will need to obtain a certificate of compliance from the council.
In addition to enclosure restrictions, owners of dangerous dogs must also ensure that there is appropriate, clearly displayed signage on the property warning that a dangerous dog is present.
Whenever your dog is out of its enclosure it must be muzzled and on a leash. The dog must also be in the control of a responsible person who holds the other end of the leash at all times.
What will happen if I don’t comply?
There are severe penalties for failing to comply with dangerous dog enclosure restrictions, including heavy fines and potential imprisonment.
If your dog escapes from an enclosure that doesn’t comply with the minimum standards and subsequently attacks or bites someone, in some cases you may be required to have the dog destroyed.
If your dog has recently been declared dangerous or you have received a notice from the council of an intention to declare your dog dangerous, it is important that you take it seriously and obtain legal advice.
You have 28 days in which to appeal to the court to have a dangerous dog declaration revoked, and if you are successful you can avoid the need to create a dangerous dog enclosure or comply with other restrictions.