Domestic Animals Act 1994 - dangerous and menacing dog declarations (review)

This page provides general information and should not be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.

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.

Other related applications

VCAT can also review some decisions related to domestic animal businesses and restricted breeds of dogs under this Act. There are separate information pages about these applications.

Cases we can hear

You may be able to apply to VCAT for a review of the council's decision:

  • if you are the owner of a dog that a council has declared dangerous or menacing, or
  • in the case of a dog declared dangerous, the council has refused to register or renew the registration of the dog.

Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications

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.

Time limits

You must make your application within 28 days from when:

  • the decision was made, or
  • if you have requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, the statement of reasons is given to you or you are informed that a statement of reasons will not be given.

You may be able to apply for an extension to this time limit.

If you do not apply to VCAT, the council's decision will take effect at the end of the time within which you could have applied to VCAT.

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 in accordance with the determination of the Tribunal.

If no application to VCAT is made, a decision of a council or an authorised officer under the Act takes effect at the end of the time within which a review application to VCAT could have been made.

What can VCAT order?

Unless the relevant Act of Parliament gives us different powers, VCAT can:

  • 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 remit (send back) the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker Definition A person who makes or has made a decision under legislation that gives them this authority. giving directions or recommendations
  • invite the decision-maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case.

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish 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 free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.

Need help with your application?

We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.

We cannot give you legal advice. This means we cannot tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.

Seek legal help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim. The following services may be able to help 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. For more about applying for confidentiality.