Dingo - Legal Status

Legal Status

Until 2004 the dingo was classified as "Lower Risk/least concern" on the Red List of Threatened Species, but in that year they changed the assessment to vulnerable, as the number of "pure" dingoes had decreased to about 30% because of interbreeding with other domestic dogs. The dingo is regarded as a regulated, native species (but not threatened) under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) in the Commonwealth of Nations and is therefore protected in the national parks of the Commonwealth, as well as in World Heritage Sites and other conservation areas. However, this law also allows that dingoes can be controlled in areas where they have a proven impact on the environment. The law forbids the export of dingoes or their body parts from Australia, except for cases where it is regulated by the law. The legal status of the dingo and other wild dogs varies across the Australian federal states and territories:

  • Northern Territory: the dingo is regarded as protected, not threatened and native (due to its ecological impact) under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act (2000). Dingoes in the Northern Territory are regarded as having an important conservational value since interbreeding of dingoes and other domestic dogs is low in the area. However dingoes can be legally killed when they are a danger for the livestock industry.
  • Western Australia: Dingoes and their hybrids are regarded as declared animals under the Agriculture and Related Resources Protection Act (1976). Populations have to be controlled and can be kept as pets under certain conditions. Control measures are strictly confined to livestock areas and other domestic dogs are controlled in general. Dingoes are also regarded as unprotected native fauna under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act (1950). Although not protected, dingoes are normally not hunted without permission in conservation areas.
  • South Australia: Dingoes and their hybrids are appointed pests in the sheep areas south of the Dingo Fence under the Animal and Plant Control Board (Agricultural Protection and Other Purposes) Act (1986). There they have to be controlled and can only be kept in captivity of authorised zoos and wildlife parks. North of the Dingo Fence dingoes are regarded as legitimate wildlife and although they are not protected, they are given a certain protection in a buffer zone of 35 km northern of the Dingo Fence.
  • Queensland: Dingoes and their hybrids are regarded as pests under the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002. All landowners are legally committed to reduce the number of all wild dogs on their lands. The dingo is regarded as wildlife and native wildlife under the Nature Conservation Act (1992) and is a natural resource (therefore protected) in conservation areas. Outside of these areas dingoes are not regarded as native Australian and are not protected. Dingoes and their hybrids can only be kept in wildlife parks and zoos with ministerial agreement.
  • New South Wales: The Rural Lands Protection Act (1998) allocates wild dogs the status of pests and demands from landowners, that they shall be decimated or eradicated. Although dingoes are not regarded as protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act (1974), they are granted full protection in national parks. The dingo is regarded as a native species under the Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995), since these dogs had established populations before the European colonisation. The Wild Dog Destruction Act (1921) includes dingoes in its definition of wild dogs. This law only affects the western part of the state, where landowners are committed to control wild dogs. The law forbids the ownership of dingoes in that region, except when you have a legal permission. In other parts of the federal state dingoes can be kept as pets due to the Companion Animals Act (1998).
  • Australian Capital Territory: Dingoes are regarded as protected under the Nature Conservation Act (1980). On private land killing of wild dogs is allowed when you have permission from the territory.
  • Victoria: Wild dogs are regarded as established pests under the Catchment and Land Protection Act (1994) and landowners (except from the Commonwealth) have the legal duty to hinder the spreading of wild dogs on their lands and to eradicate them as much as possible. The term wild dogs includes here all dingoes, feral domestic dogs, dogs who became wild and crossbreeds (except for recognised breeds like the Australian Cattle Dog). The Domestic (Feral and Nuisance) Animal Act (1994) commits every dog owner to have their dogs under control on all times. The dingoes are granted a certain protection in areas that are managed by the National Parks Act (1975). Since 1998 it is possible to own dingoes as pets. At the time there is the possibility that "pure" dingoes may become officially classified as a protected species, according to official statements, that would not stand in conflict with control measures against wild dogs. Update: In 2008, Dingoes were officially declared a threatened species (in danger of extinction) and are now protected.
  • Tasmania: The import of dingoes to Tasmania is forbidden under the National Parks and Wildlife Act (1970). The control of dogs that attack livestock is managed under the Dog Control Act (1987).

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