Domestic Animals Act 1994 - dangerous and menacing dog declarations (review)
VCAT can review local council decisions about whether a dog should be declared a menacing dog or a dangerous dog under the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
This page provides general information and shouldn't be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you're unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.
The Domestic Animals Act 1994 promotes animal welfare, responsible ownership of dogs and cats and the protection of the environment from feral and nuisance dogs and cats.
Cases we can hear
Under the Act, you may be able to apply to VCAT for a review of a council's decision to:
- have a dog declared dangerous or menacing if you are the owner, or
- refuse to register or renew the registration of a dog, in the case of a dog being declared dangerous.
Other related applications
Cases we can't help with
We can’t accept:
- some cases where one party lives in another state or is a Commonwealth government organisation
- cases heard under federal law instead of Victorian law.
Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications
Section 98(2) of the Domestic Animals Act 1994
Documents you need to apply
If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete the VCAT application form and attach a copy of the document to your application.
You must make your application within 28 days from when:
- the decision was made, or
- if you have requested a statement of reasons, the statement of reasons is given to you or you are notified that a statement of reasons will not be given.
See section 98 of the Act for more information about when a decision is taken to be made.
If you apply outside of the time limit, VCAT may extend the time for making an application. You must ask for an extension of time by indicating this on the ‘extension of time’ question of the application form and briefly explaining why your application was late.
VCAT will ask the decision maker if they agree to any extension. If the decision maker doesn't agree, VCAT may hold a preliminary hearing before deciding whether to grant an extension.
What happens to the original decision if I apply to VCAT for a review?
If a review application is made to VCAT about a decision made by a council or an authorised officer, the decision takes effect according to VCAT's determination.
If you don't apply to VCAT, the decision of the council or authorised officer takes effect once the deadline for applying to VCAT has passed.
What can VCAT order?
- affirm the original decision, in which case the original decision will stand
- vary the decision
- set aside the decision and substitute our own decision
- set aside the decision and send back the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker giving directions or recommendations
- invite the decision maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case.
We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.
We can't give you legal advice. This means we can't tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.
Seek legal help if you're unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You don' need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you want to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.
Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.
Find legal services that may be able to assist you.
Access and privacy
VCAT hearings and files are usually public.
VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.