Sydney Animal Behaviour Service - Dangerous Dogs
Sometimes we are approached by owners of dogs that have gotten into trouble with local authorities due to their behaviour. Although we can perform a behavioural assessment of your dog, there are some things you should first understand.
1. You need to fully understand the laws as they apply to 'Dangerous', 'Nuisance' and 'Restricted-Breed' dogs. The laws in NSW are quite stringent and each declaration process is very clearly defined. Simply believing that your dog has been wrongly labelled is not enough to contest a declaration. You will need to download the Companion Animals Act 1998 and the Companion Animal Regulations 1999. Copies of these laws may be found at the following website: http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/maintop/scanact/inforce/NONE/0
2. Once you have read the legislation you should have a better idea of the process involved. Different sections of the Act require different actions. For example if your dog has been declared a 'Restricted Breed' by the council, you might need to find a Government Accredited Breed Assessor, or if your dog has been declared a 'Cross of a Restricted Breed' and you require a temperament test, you will need to find a Government Accredited Temperament Assessor. These are people who have applied to be approved to conduct tests under this part of the Act.
A list of these assessors is available by telephoning The Department of Local Government Companion Animal Help desk on 1300 134 460.
3. If your dog has been declared a Dangerous Dog, and you have used all of the regular forms of appeal, you may consider having a Behavioural Assessment done by one of our Veterinary Behaviourists prior to taking the issue to court. You will need to fill out our Dog behaviour questionnaire prior to the consultation and bring it with you. You can download a copy of the questionnaire by visiting the 'Forms' tab at the top of this page. During the assessment a full history will be taken and your dog will be observed both in your presence and in your absence. Recommendations are usually made for future management, and a report suitable for submission to a court is prepared. Prior to booking a behavioural assessment we would suggest that you speak to your solicitor/barrister about the matter to ensure that a behavioural assessment will be considered by the courts in your particular case.
Dangerous Dog Assessments incur both an assessment fee, and a report writing fee. If our behaviourists are called to give evidence in court, there are also additional costs for the court appearance. Please feel free to discuss your requirements with our staff by calling the SABS office on: (02) 9949 8511