Objection to a menacing dog classification Hearings Subcommittee



26 August 2020




Order Paper for the meeting to be held in the

Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, 30 Laings Road, Lower Hutt,







Thursday 3 September 2020 commencing at 2.00pm



The purpose of the hearing is to consider an objection to a menacing dog classification






Cr D Hislop(Chair)


Cr S Edwards

Cr K Brown

Cr B Dyer (alternate)












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Membership:	An independent Commissioner plus a minimum of either 3 or 4 elected members (including the Chair) and alternates who have current certification under the Making Good Decisions Training, Assessment and Certification Programme for RMA Decision-Makers. 
Meeting Cycle:	Meets as required
Quorum:	Half of the members
Reports to:	Regulatory Committee



To conduct the hearing of resource consent applications and related matters under the Resource Management Act 1991.



        Hearing and deciding notified resource consent applications.

        Hearing and deciding objections to conditions imposed on resource consents.


Conduct of Hearings:

        To conduct hearings where these are required as part of a statutory process.

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1.   Hearings commissioners are kept abreast of developments in the legislation.

2.   Legal and technical errors that have been made previously are avoided (many of which have resulted in Environment Court action which is costly, time consuming and often creates unrealistic expectations for the community).

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Hearings Subcommittee


Meeting to be held in the Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, 30 Laings Road, Lower Hutt on

 Thursday 3 September 2020 commencing at 2.00pm.




Public Business


1.       APOLOGIES 

Cr D Hislop


3.       Hearing for objection to menacing dog classification (20/974)

Report No. HSC2020/5/186 by the Senior Animal Control Officer                    4







Kate Glanville





                                                                                       4                                                03 September 2020

Hearings Subcommittee

25 August 2020




File: (20/974)





Report no: HSC2020/5/186


Hearing for objection to menacing dog classification


Purpose of Report

To review the information contained within the report and determine if the dog menacing classification should be upheld or rescinded.


That the Subcommittee:

(i)         notes the provisions of the Dog Control Act 1996 which apply to classification of a dog as a menacing dog;

(ii)        hears the evidence of the Animal Control Officer which lead to the classification being imposed;

(iii)       hears the objection by the owner of the dog;

(iv)      hears the evidence of the complainant;

(v)       considers any other matters relevant under Section 33B of the Act; and

(vi)      decides to uphold or rescind the classification.



1.         The Hutt City Dog Policy has regard, under the Dog Control Act 1996 (the Act), to the following matters:

·      the need to minimize danger, distress, and nuisance to the community generally,

·      the need to avoid the inherent danger in allowing dogs to have uncontrolled access to public places that are frequented by children, whether or not the children are accompanied by adults,

·      the importance of enabling, to the extent that is practicable, the public (including families) to use streets and public amenities without fear of attack or intimidation by dogs; and

·      the exercise and recreational needs of dogs and their owners.

2.         Under the Act and Hutt City Dog Policy, where a Dog Control Officer observes or believes a dog has attacked a person or animal, the officer may:

·      issue an infringement notice;

·      at the time, seize the dog if it is at large;

·      if the dog continues to be a threat to the safety of people or animals, seize the dog;

·      destroy the dog at the time of the attack;

·      classify the dog as dangerous or menacing;

·      prosecute the owner under the Act.

Penalties could be up to three years imprisonment or fines of $20,000 for serious injury incidents.

3.         In this case the dog has been declared a “menacing dog” under the Act and the dog owner has objected to the classification.  The main requirements under this classification are that the dog must be muzzled at all times while in a public place and neutered or spayed within one month of the classification. 

4.         The evidence which formed the basis for the original classification is included as Appendix 1 to this report.

5.         The Animal Control Officer’s report, which will be spoken to at the hearing, is attached as Appendix 2 to this report.

6.         Further documentation from the Council file on this matter is attached as Appendix 3 to this report.

7.         The owner of a dog which has been classified as a menacing dog may object to the classification within 14 days of receipt of the notification of the classification.


8.         The Animal Control Officer collects evidence from the complainant, the owner of the dog and any witnesses.  Council records for previous warnings or actions are also checked prior to deciding to classify a dog as menacing.

Legal Considerations

9.         The process regarding the classification of a dog as menacing is outlined in the Act.  The relevant sections of the Act follow:

33A Territorial authority may classify dog as menacing

(1)     This section applies to a dog that—

(a)     has not been classified as a dangerous dog under section 31; but

(b)     a territorial authority considers may pose a threat to any person, stock, poultry, domestic animal, or protected wildlife because of—

(i)      any observed or reported behaviour of the dog; or

(ii)     any characteristics typically associated with the dog's breed or type.

(2)     A territorial authority may, for the purposes of section 33E(1)(a), classify a dog to which this section applies as a menacing dog.

(3)     If a dog is classified as a menacing dog under subsection (2), the territorial authority must immediately give written notice in the prescribed form to the owner of—

(a)     the classification; and

(b)     the provisions of section 33E (which relates to the effect of classification as a menacing dog); and

(c)      the right to object to the classification under section 33B; and

(d)     if the territorial authority's policy is not to require the neutering of menacing dogs (or would not require the neutering of the dog concerned), the effect of sections 33EA and 33EB if the owner does not object to the classification and the dog is moved to the district of another territorial authority.

10.       Owner’s right to objection to the classification

33B Objection to classification of dog under section 33A

(1)     If a dog is classified under section 33A as a menacing dog, the owner—

(a)     may, within 14 days of receiving notice of the classification, object in writing to the territorial authority in regard to the classification; and

(b)      has the right to be heard in support of the objection.


11.       Considering the objection

33B Objection to classification of dog under section 33A

(2)     The territorial authority considering an objection under subsection (1) may uphold or rescind the classification, and in making its determination must have regard to—

(a)     the evidence which formed the basis for the classification; and

(b)     any steps taken by the owner to prevent any threat to the safety of persons or animals; and

(c)      the matters relied on in support of the objection; and

(d)     any other relevant matters.

(3)     The territorial authority must, as soon as practicable, give written notice to the owner of—

(a)     its determination of the objection; and

(b)     the reasons for its determination.

12.       Effects of classification as menacing dog

33E Effect of classification as menacing dog

(1)     If a dog is classified as a menacing dog under section 33A or section 33C, the owner of the dog—

(a)     must not allow the dog to be at large or in any public place or in any private way, except when confined completely within a vehicle or cage, without being muzzled in such a manner as to prevent the dog from biting but to allow it to breathe and drink without obstruction; and

(b)     must, if required by the territorial authority, within 1 month after receipt of notice of the classification, produce to the territorial authority a certificate issued by a veterinarian certifying—

(i)      that the dog is or has been neutered; or

(ii)     that for reasons that are specified in the certificate, the dog will not be in a fit condition to be neutered before a date specified in the certificate; and

(c)      must, if a certificate under paragraph (b)(ii) is produced to the territorial authority, produce to the territorial authority, within 1 month after the date specified in that certificate, a further certificate under paragraph (b)(i).

Financial Considerations

13.       Any costs associated with a hearing will be met from the Animal Control operating budget.






Menacing Objection - Animal Control Officer's evidence



Menacing Objection - Dog Owner's evidence



Menacing Objection - Complainant's evidence





Author: Keri Te Kawa

Senior Animal Control Officer



Reviewed By: Jane Schuitema

Team Leader Animal Services



Reviewed By: Geoff Stuart

Head of Regulatory Services and Emergency Management




Approved By: Helen Oram

Director Environmental and Sustainability


Attachment 1

Menacing Objection - Animal Control Officer's evidence







Attachment 2

Menacing Objection - Dog Owner's evidence



Attachment 3

Menacing Objection - Complainant's evidence