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What is a Dangerous Dog?

Video Transcript

This video is titled what is a dangerous dog.

Now there’s a lot of confusion about the definition of a dangerous dog under the law.

Section 33 of the companion animals act says that a dog is dangerous if it has without provocation attacked or killed a person or animal other than vermin, or has without provocation repeatedly threatened to attack or repeatedly chase a person or animal again other than vermin, or has displayed unreasonable aggression towards a person or animal other than vermin, or if it’s kept for hunting.

That’s a definition of a dangerous dog.

Now if a dog is declared dangerous it is subject to a number of rules and the worst of those rules in my view is that the dog will have to live in what’s called a dog enclosure; so dog cage, dog run at the back of the house, or wherever it may be.

It’ll have to live in that enclosure and it can only be let out of that enclosure if its muzzled.

Very, very strict obligations for dog owners and very unfair in my view on the dog, and I don’t want anything that I say to diminish the dangerousness of some pets out there and our responsibility as pet owners to control them to have them on a leash, and if necessary to have them muzzled because there have been dog attacks and they’ve made people suffer immensely, families suffer immensely, and of course if we know that our dogs may have a propensity to do those types of things we have certain obligations.

However the obligations under the companion animals act I believe go a bit too far by imposing that very, very strict rule on dogs and their owners.

As a criminal defence lawyer my clients will know whether they’re innocent or guilty, why they are being punished, that is what they’re charged with.

However a dog that is made to live in a dog enclosure won’t know what it did wrong.

So it’s in my view an inhumane law.

However that is the definition of dangerous dog under the companion animals act.

Now here at Sydney Criminal Lawyers® we’ve been doing companion animals act cases for many, many years.

I believe we’re by far the most experienced criminal law firm or law firm in these types of cases; dangerous dog cases; and I’m going to explain to you what you may want to do if you are served with a notice of intention to declare the dog dangerous.

So if there has been an alleged incident and if council thinks that your dog may be dangerous, they will serve upon you as the owner what’s called a notice of intention to declare your dog dangerous.

You have seven days within which to draft or have a lawyer draft on your behalf what’s called a letter of objection.

And you can draft that letter, send it to the to the council; to the relevant council; and explain the reasons why your dog should not be declared dangerous.

Now council must consider the contents of that letter before it declares your dog dangerous.

So it’s very important to get that letter right.

With that letter you can offer if you like something called undertakings, and they are promises to the council to do certain things in respect of your dog.

So that it doesn’t engage itself in any future behaviour, for example with the letter objection, which may talk about the background of your dog, about the fact that this has not occurred before, and so on.

You can have a separate document, undertakings, which may say (a) I undertake that only an adult will have the dog in public, (b) that the dog shall always be on a leash, (c) perhaps if the dogs in public it shall always be muzzled.

Things like that you can offer in undertakings and we do that for clients quite often and they may convince the council to refrain from going ahead and declaring your dog dangerous.

However if your dog is declared dangerous that is if you receive a dangerous dog declaration you have 28 days within which to launch an appeal to a local court against that declaration.

28 days.

Now the declaration that can be appealed by your lawyer drafting an application to the local court will then give you a date when you or your lawyer on your behalf will turn up and then the court can decide if your dog is dangerous, or if the dogs not dangerous.

Video transcription by YouTube

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