Skip to Content
Department of Premier and Cabinet

Dangerous dogs FAQs

Why are some dogs declared dangerous dogs?

If a dog has caused a serious injury to a person or animal the council can declare the dog to be a dangerous dog. This is to protect people and animals from an attack.

However, if the council believes that a dog is likely to cause serious injury to a person or another animal, it does not have to wait for an attack or serious injury to occur and may declare the dog to be a dangerous dog.

Once a dog is declared as dangerous, stronger control provisions must be met, such as wearing a muzzle.

Controlling dangerous dogs in public

When a dangerous dog is in a public place, the owner or person in charge must ensure the dog is

  • muzzled so it can’t bite a person or animal AND
  • held on a lead that is less than 2 metres long, and that it can control and restrain the dog AND
  • under the control of a person at least 18 years of age AND

What sort of enclosure is needed for a dangerous dog?

When a dangerous dog is not under the control of a person, it must be kept in an enclosure that meets certain rules. These rules are written in the Dog Control Regulations 2010.

Enclosure specifications

The enclosure must be a full enclosure, be childproof and also

  • have a minimum height of 1.8 metres and minimum width of 1.8 metres
  • have a floor area of at least 10 square metres for each dog in the enclosure
  • have walls, roof and door or gate made of brick, timber, concrete, iron or mesh, or a combination of those materials, that are strong and tough enough to stop the dog from getting out of the enclosure
  • have enough room for each dog in the enclosure to sleep where they are protected from the weather
  • have a sealed, graded concrete floor
  • be built in an area that lets a person get to other parts of the property without going through the dog’s enclosure
  • if fitted with a door or gate, that must be self-closing or self-latching and be locked from the outside when a dog is inside the enclosure
  • have a sign on the door or gate that is easy to read and says “Dangerous Dog”

If the walls, roof or gate of the enclosure are made of mesh, that mesh must be chain mesh of at least 3.15 mm gauge with a maximum spacing of 50 mm, or weldmesh of at least 4 mm gauge with a maximum spacing of 50 mm.

Warning signs

Approved dangerous dog warning signs need to be put up at all the entrances to the place where the dog usually lives.

These signs are approved by the Director of Local Government and must be specific colours, size and made of metal. Contact your council to find out where to get the signs from.

Timeframes for building enclosures

If a dog is declared dangerous, the council can ask the owner to build an approved enclosure within 28 days.

If the enclosure is not built in time, the council may

  • extend the 28 day deadline if they are satisfied that enough progress is made OR
  • keep the dog and not return it until the approved enclosure has been finished

If an approved enclosure is never finished the council may destroy the dog. The council may also ask the owner to repay them for keeping and destroying the dog.

Do dangerous dogs need to be de-sexed and microchipped?

Yes, dangerous dogs must be de-sexed and microchipped at the owner’s cost within 28 days of a dangerous dog notice from the council.

A dangerous dog that is not de-sexed and microchipped may be seized and held in a pound by the council.

The microchip is not to be removed from the dog without approval from the council.

What happens if a dangerous dog attacks again?

If a dangerous dog attacks a person or animal again, the owner will be guilty of an offence and can be fined and/or go to prison for up to 12 months.

The owner may also be banned from owning or being in charge of any dog for 5 years. Breaking a 5 year ban can lead to another fine.

What if I want to become the owner of a dangerous dog?

You must apply to your council if you want to become the owner of a dangerous dog.

A dangerous dog may only be sold or given away after the future owner has been given approval from the council.

Once the council has approved the transfer or sale of a dangerous dog, the seller must tell their council within 24 hours of the transfer or sale.

What happens if a dangerous dog strays or is lost?

If a dangerous dog goes missing, strays, dies or is lost the owner must tell the council as soon as possible.

It is against the Animal Welfare Act 1993 to abandon an animal and owners can be fined up to $16,300 and/or sent to prison for up to 12 months (fine as at 2018).

Resources and related information

More information

For more information contact your council. Contact details for councils is provided in the Tasmanian council directory.

Go back to the main dog control page