This website is for use by legal professionals (lawyers and law practices) only. If the information is used incorrectly, you could risk losing money or your legal rights. If you are a member of the public looking for free advice about your legal problems please visit, or contact our Legal Help advice line on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. 

If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

Challenging a declaration at VCAT

Information about the procedure for challenging a council decision to declare a dog a restricted breed dog.

If an owner wants to challenge a council's decision to declare a dog to be a restricted breed dog, they may apply for the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to review the council decision.

Applications are made to the Review and Regulations list at VCAT. The cost as at 15 January 2019 is $647.40.

See 'Form 1' in Forms and VCAT—Fees.

Time limit

They only have 14 days to do this. Time is calculated from the later of these dates:

  • from the day when the decision is made
  • from the date that written reasons are given by the council

See s. 98—Domestic Animals Act 1994 (Vic).

Ask for reasons for council decision to declare a dog a restricted breed

The VCAT Act says that a person who is entitled to apply to the tribunal to have their decision reviewed, may ask the decision-maker (so in this case, the council). If a person makes this request, the decision-maker has to give a statement of reasons within 28 days.

If these reasons are not given, then the person may apply to VCAT for an order that the council give reasons for its decision.

See ss. 45, 46—Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic).

Who pays for the cost of housing the dog while decision is being challenged?

From 1 July 2014 VCAT may order the owner of a dog (that has been declared a restricted breed of dog) to pay for the reasonable cost and expenses that the council incurred from the time that the dog was seized. This can only happen if VCAT confirms the original decision to declare the dog that was made by council.

See s. 98AAA—Domestic Animals Act 1994 (Vic).

More information


Domestic Animals Act 1994 (Vic)

  • s. 84P—further power to destroy dogs
  • s. 98A—power of authorised officer to make declarations as to breed of dogs
  • s. 98(2A)—review of decisions by VCAT
  • s. 98AAA—order for cost of keeping dog in custody

See Domestic Animals Act 1994 (Vic).

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic)

  • s. 45—asking for a statement of reasons for a decision
  • s. 46—decision-maker must give statement of reasons on request
  • s. 47—tribunal may order a statement of reaons to be given

See Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic).