THERE has been a fourfold increase in “menacing” dogs in Ballarat in the past year, according to the City of Ballarat.
Eight dogs are currently registered in the City of Ballarat as menacing, up from two in 2012 and one in 2009.
Dogs are considered menacing by council if they “rush at” or chase a person or cause a non-serious bite injury to a person or animal.
According to the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, “rush at” means a dog has approached a person within three metres in a menacing manner.
That includes displaying aggressive behaviour such as “snarling, growling and raising the hackles”.
The breeds of dogs registered as menacing in Ballarat include a bull mastiff, two American bulldogs and a rottweiler.
It is a less serious classification than “dangerous”, which covers animals that have caused death or serious injury to a person or animal.
City of Ballarat City infrastructure general manager Eric Braslis said council officers undertook doorknocks on an annual basis to look for dogs that had not been registered as dangerous or menacing.
He would not be drawn on how many unregistered dogs could be considered dangerous, menacing or restricted breed.
“It is impossible to speculate on how many unregistered dogs fall into these categories as by definition unregistered dogs are not known to council,” Mr Braslis said.
The council keeps track of dangerous, menacing and restricted breed dogs under state government legislation which tracks their movement.
Owners of menacing dogs must abide by certain conditions, including muzzling the dog when it is not on their premises.
There are currently no restricted breed dogs in Ballarat after a registered pit bull terrier died in the past year.
Ballarat also currently has 16 registered guard dogs, which are automatically considered to be a dangerous dog.