A CSI-style dog case before VCAT has pitted a country couple against their local council over the fate of accused pit bulls Bear and Kooda.
Cobram pair Nathan Laffan and Samantha Graham are the first to challenge the new dangerous and restricted animal laws under which their dogs were seized.
They argue their dogs are not dangerous, should not be restricted and are not linked to the American pit bull breed.
But Moira Shire Council enforcement officer Robert Ianson, who seized the seven-month-old dogs in September, said they had the hallmarks of cross-bred pit bull dogs.
These traits included "lock jaw and scissor teeth"
, muscular build, head profile and size-to-weight ratio. The appeal centres on how to identify dangerous or restricted breeds.
VCAT heard there were no definitive DNA tests to confirm pit bull terriers - or pit bull crosses.
Mr Laffan claims Moira Shire Council seized his dogs after wrongly identifying them.
The couple bought the dogs last year and were assured by the breeder they were a mix of bull mastiff, American bulldog and staffordshire cross.
The animals were seized after Mr Laffan approached council to register the dogs.
Moira Council lawyer Ragu Appudurai said the animals fitted the size, weight and physical features of a pit bull-type cross.
Mr Appudurai conceded the fact "every pit bull is a cross breed" made interpretation of the new laws challenging.
"The legislation as it now stands doesn't give them a great deal (of room) to move," he told the tribunal.
"There is no such thing as a pure-breed American pit bull terrier."
Mr Laffan argued the dogs were seized on September 26, days before the new laws took effect, and shouldn't be subject to seizure because the breeder had assured him they were bull mastiff crosses.
Senior tribunal members Ian Proctor and Rebecca French will deliver their decision after further weight, size and characteristic assessments are made within the next week.