Under the Companion Animals Act 1998 there are a number of rules and regulations that dog owners must comply with.
These rules are constantly changing, with new rules for orders and conduct being inserted into the Act on a consistent basis.
If your dog behaves in a certain manner or is declared dangerous, you will have further restrictions to comply with.
In extreme cases, or if your dog has been involved in an incident where a person or other animal has been injured, a dog destruction order may be issued stating that your animal must be destroyed within a certain time period.
These orders are made under section 48 of the Act.
What is a dog destruction order?
A destruction order is one which requires your dog to be destroyed.
These orders can be made for a number of reasons, including:
- Failure on the part of you the owner to comply with a control order.
- Failure to comply with the requirements for a restricted dog or a declared dangerous dog.
- The dog has attacked a person or another animal apart from vermin.
- The dog has been encouraged to attack another animal or a person.
- The dog has caused the death of , or injury to, a person.
For the court to give a dog destruction order, it must be satisfied that destruction is the only way to sufficiently protect the public or other animals.
However, the Act makes clear a court must make a destruction order if you have been found guilty of an offence involving serious injury or death of a person, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
A dog destruction order generally requires you to destroy your dog within a set time period, which will be specified on the order.
Can I appeal a dog destruction order?
Having your beloved companion destroyed is invariably heartbreaking.
A dog destruction order requires you to destroy your loved one if he or she is in your care, and not doing so can amount to an offence under section 49 of the Act.
Alternatively, if your dog has already been seized,the council will make the arrangements.
The Act requires the procedure to be undertaken humanely.
Due to the nature and impact of these orders, it is important to attempt to negotiate for a destruction order not to be made.
If an order has been made by the court, there is no avenue contained in the Act for appealing such a decision.
What are the alternatives to a destruction order?
There are ways to negotiate for council not to apply for a destruction order, or if an application has been filed, to argue in court that it should not be made.
One way to do this is agree with council that you will accept a dangerous dog declaration without appealing it, or are content to be served with a menacing dog order, or will agree to control orders (which can have a range of conditions but are generally less onerous than dangerous and menacing dog orders), if an application for destruction is not made.
Council may inspect your property to ensure the terms of these orders are capable of being complied with.
Control orders, as well as menacing and dog dangerous dog declarations, can be onerous, but it is better than having your dog destroyed.
If you successfully negotiate for a destruction order not to be applied for in the first place, or argue in court for it not to be made, it is important that you carefully follow all of the rules and comply with the restrictions moving forward.