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Dangerous / Menacing Dogs

If you own a dog that is classified as dangerous or menacing, you have extra obligations to ensure public safety and to avoid any offences against you and your pet.

In an attempt to reduce dog attacks, the Government introduced new legislation in 1996 that required certain types of dogs to be given a menacing dog classification.

The five breeds identified below have a reputation as being more likely to attack people than most other breeds. Dogs wholly or predominantly of these breeds will be classified as ‘menacing’.

  • American Pit Bull Terrier 
  • Brazilian Fila 
  • Dogo Argentino 
  • Japanese Tosa 
  • Presa Canario

An owner can object in writing to Council to the classification, but the objection can only be based on mistaken identity, i.e. the owner believes that the dog is not one of the breeds listed above.

Free neutering for owners of menacing dogs

In an attempt to reduce the risk and harm from dog attacks in Tauranga, Council is offering an amnesty to owners of menacing dogs which will see them receive up to $350 worth of neutering, microchipping, a subsidised muzzle and registration, all for free.

The offer runs until 30 June 2017 and applies to dogs that have or could be classified as menacing under the Dog Control Act 1996 due to their breed, type or behaviour.

The campaign is part of a nationwide attempt to reduce dog attacks in New Zealand, and supports the proposed changes for menacing dog owners under the Dog Control Act. One of these proposed changes will require all owners of menacing dogs to have them neutered. The amnesty period gives owners the chance to come forward without repercussion and take advantage of this free offer before it becomes law under the Act.

To register for this package, owners of menacing dogs can call Council on 07 577 7000, or visit Council’s customer service centre on Willow Street. The initiative is being largely funded by central government. 

What does “classified as menacing” mean?

  • Menacing dogs must be muzzled in public. 
  • Menacing dogs must be micro-chipped. 
  • Councils can require menacing dogs to be neutered, although Tauranga City Council does not impose that requirement.

Dangerous dogs

Dogs can be classified as dangerous if:

  • the owner is convicted of an offence under the Dog Control Act
  • the dog has acted aggressively and constitutes a threat to any person, stock, poultry, domestic animal or protected wildlife 
  • the owner admits in writing the dog constitutes a threat to any person, stock, poultry, domestic animal or protected wildlife

A dangerous dog classification lasts for the life of the dog. If there is a change of ownership, then all conditions imposed on the current owner apply.

Dog owners with a classified dangerous dog must:

  • keep the dog in a fenced off portion of the property which is not necessary to enter to access a door of any dwelling 
  • neuter the dog within four weeks of the classification 
  • microchip the dog within two months of the classification 
  • muzzle the dog when it is taken into any public place (even when on a leash) 
  • pay the dangerous dog rate for dog registration for the rest of the dog’s life 
  • obtain written permission from the Council before selling or disposing of the dog 
  • disclose the dangerous dog classification to any new owners if there is a change of ownership 
  • advise any temporary owner or carer of all the requirements

Last Reviewed: 21/03/2017