Victorian Councils Preparing for Search and Destroy Mission

With just under two weeks till the opening of  ‘dog season’ in Victoria, Councils are preparing to start knocking on doors and seizing family pets.

The State Government is encouraging the public to dob in their neighbours pets via a dedicated ‘Dob in a Dangerous Dog’ hotline.

Q. My neighbour has a pit bull terrier that does not appear to be
registered or kept according to the law. What can I do?

A. Call the Local Council or the Government hotline (1300 101 080). An
Authorised Officer will inspect the premises and review the breed of the dog.
If it is of a restricted breed then an official declaration process and
restriction of the dog will be initiated.

Restricted Breed Dogs FAQ - Bureau of Animal Welfare - Department of Primary Industries, Victoria

DPI Advice to Councils is Incorrect

Council staff are not qualified to identify the breed components of dogs from unknown parentage. The identification “standard” issued by the State Government comes without explanation of how it is to be used. It will lead to mistakes and declarations of dogs who do not have any Pit Bull in them because there is no scientific basis behind it. New laws grant Councils power to kill dogs based on their appearance under certain (but not all) circumstances.

The DPI’s own website states:

Current owners may keep their restricted breed dogs as long as the dogs were:

  1. in Victoria prior to 1 September 2010, AND
  2. registered (as any breed) with the local council prior to 30 September 2011.

The DPI have provided advice to Councils on the process for declaring a Restricted Breed Dog. It wrongly gives the impression that unless the owner makes an application to VCAT to appeal the declaration their dog will be killed. As we saw above, that is not always the case. Owners who meet the conditions can accept the declaration and may be allowed to keep their dog subject to restrictions.

Restricted Breed Process Flow Chart distributed to Councils by Victorian DPI

We’re talking about the seizure and destruction of family pets. Dog owners will have their lives turned upside down by what’s about to occur. It’s crucial that Council staff and dog owners are given clear and accurate information.