City council U-turns on muzzling dogs in homes

Gibbs, an American Bulldog, was one of the dogs who the city council said had to wear a muzzle at all times.

The city council has done a U-turn on the requirement of owners to muzzle ‘menacing’ dogs in their own homes.

It has apologised to dog owners who received letters saying their dog had to be muzzled at all times.

It comes after widespread backlash from the public last week, forcing the city council to seek “urgent” legal advice on whether it had interpreted the Dog Control Act correctly.

City council consenting and compliance general manager Leonie Rae said the legal advice it received supported the view that dogs classified as menacing did not need to be muzzled.

She apologised for any “confusion” caused.

“The further legal opinion we have received supports the view that dogs classified as menacing do not need to be muzzled when they are inside their owner’s house or contained securely within their owner’s property,’’ she said.

“The members of our animal management team are all passionate animal lovers. They were trying to prevent other animals and people from coming to harm by ensuring that the owners of menacing dogs were aware of what their obligations were.

Section 33E of the Dog Control Act states the owner of a menacing dog “must not allow the dog to be at large, or in a public place, or in a private way without being muzzled.’’

“We will be writing to the dog owners with dangerous or menacing dog classifications to update them. This will give clarity around where and when menacing dogs need to be muzzled”.