STRICT new dangerous dog laws are under pressure, with a key test case showing that councils are struggling to enforce them.
The problem is proving a dog is a restricted breed.
Michael Ozzimo, of Altona North, recently won a long legal battle with Hume Council to get his dog back.
The tough new laws, which allow councils to destroy any breed on the restricted-dog register, were introduced after the death of toddler Ayen Chol.
The council claimed Mr Ozzimo's unregistered dog Tess, found wandering Meadow Heights alone, was an American pit bull terrier, a restricted breed.
Mr Ozzimo said Tess, 2, was a staffy and bull mastiff ridgeback-cross. He challenged the council in VCAT last month using blood tests and a veterinarian's letter.
VCAT member Dr Rebecca French agreed and ruled the dog had to be immediately released back to the care of Mr Ozzimo.
The dog had spent five months in a pound. "She was very happy to see me, but not as excited as me," Mr Ozzimo said.
Municipal Association of Victoria CEO Rob Spence said the case was a warning. Councils were already wary of trying to lock up what may be a restricted breed because of the cost and time involved.
A Hume council spokesman said it was seeking a meeting with the Department of Primary Industries. A spokesman for Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh declined to comment.
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Good to see an article like this in a paper like the Herald Sun.