Domestic Animals Act 1994 - restricted breed dogs (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 restricted breed dogs under the Domestic Animals Act 1994.

Other related applications

VCAT can also review some decisions related to domestic animal businesses and dangerous dogs under this Act.

Cases we can hear

You can apply for VCAT to review a council's decision

  • if you are the owner of a dog that an authorised officer has declared to be a restricted breed dog, or
  • if you are the owner of a restricted breed dog and the council has refused to register the dog, or
  • if you are the owner of a restricted breed dog and the council has refused to 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 14 days (declaration of restricted breed) or 28 days (refusal to register or renew registration) 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?

Declaration of restricted breed

VCAT can:

  • confirm the decision
  • set aside the decision, so that the dog is no longer declared a restricted breed dog.

Refusal to register or renew registration

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 makerDefinitionA 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 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.

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.