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Dangerous Dog Declaration?

Has your dog been involved in an incident?

Is there a council action pending against your dog?

Has your dog been Declared Dangerous?

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All these events can be stressful and pose a great risk to your dog’s life, either in terms of freedom or perhaps being euthanized.

In all cases, don’t hesitate, call us the minute that any aggressive event occurs, don’t let it play out and see what happens, calling us is free and we will advise you what your best steps will be from where aver you are.

The situation and the chances of coming out of this favourably reduce every day that goes by!

You need to act instantly, call us now!

The Dangerous Dog Declaration is the Councils way of dealing with all dog related incidents, by declaring a dog dangerous and imposing the restrictions laid out in the declaration, Councils are showing a duty of care to the people within the council’s area.

Most Council officers are there to help you, we get regular referrals from many councils and they generally have you, your dogs and the communities best interest in mind, however they have limited options when a dog is not behaving well in a social environment.

The term “Dangerous” unfortunately conjures up many an emotional picture in people’s minds; this is often where conflict arises because people do not feel their dog is “dangerous”.

The term dangerous is a name for the declaration rather than a descriptive term and that is the first thing that most owners need to come to terms with. I honestly feel that it could have been named with a little more thought.

What does the term dangerous mean in the Companion Animals Act?

COMPANION ANIMALS ACT 1998 – SECT 33

Meaning of “dangerous”

33 Meaning of “dangerous”

(1) For the purposes of this Division, a dog is “dangerous” if it:

(a) has, without provocation, attacked or killed a person or animal (other than vermin), or

(b) has, without provocation, repeatedly threatened to attack or repeatedly chased a person or animal (other than vermin), or

(c) has displayed unreasonable aggression towards a person or animal (other than vermin), or

(d) is kept or used for the purposes of hunting.

(2) A dog is not, for the purposes of subsection (1) (d), to be regarded as being kept or used for the purposes of hunting if it is used only to locate, flush, point or retrieve birds or vermin. “Vermin” for the purposes of this subsection includes small pest animals only (such as rodents).

The inherent problem we face is that the terms “attacked” and “threatened” are completely subjective. We have consulted with owners that have had their dog declared dangerous when the dogs actions were to rush up to another dog. Because the other dog became frightened and ran away, this was considered an attack. Another when a dog chased a cat across the road.

When a dog is involved in an incident, perhaps your dog has ended up in a fight or scuffle at a dog park, or chased a small dog that ended up fearing the chase, the other owner may go to council and report the incident in which the council may decide to declare your dog dangerous. Keep in mind that you have not been contacted as yet, but the intent to declare your dog has been made in your absence purely from the other owners report.

The Officer must contact you and notify you of his or her intensions, you have 7 days in which to appeal. Officers must consider every appeal but of course you pleading that your dog is a sweetheart won’t be of any help. An effective strategy laid out will at times and in some cases defer the council officer and give you some breathing space to take some more action.

In every case, some behaviour modification and or training should be completed.

This is why your best chance at avoiding a declaration on your dog is speak to a professional that has relevant and recent experience with these types of cases. So if you know of a Qualified Behaviour Specialist in your area that has experience with these declarations, call them now, if you don’t know one call us. There is no cost for this phone call.

It goes without saying that if you can avoid any declarations, council orders or events that involve council, do.

Some points to remember

If your dog is involved in something that may get it reported: –

Keep your dog in your yard or at least on leash at all times until you get advice from us.

Don’t antagonise, fight or argue with the other person involved in the incident, in fact it is best not to contact them until you get advice from us. If you are cornered by them advise that you are seeking professional help for your dog.

Strongly avoid situations that may end with your dog being involved in another incident.

If someone from council should pop in to see you and your dog, by all means discuss the matter with them without your dog present and advise them that you are in the process of getting an independent temperament assessment of your dog by a Qualified Behaviourist.

Don’t wait until one more step progresses, call right away, the earlier we intervene, the better your chances are. Each day that passes gives us less and less to work with. Regardless of how small or large the incident has been, or how far through you are, we can help you in some way.

We work with Councils and owners to find a safe, managable outcome for you and your dog.

Compliance

What an owner must comply with if their dog is Declared Dangerous. Download Here.

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