The Christchurch City Council has admitted it was wrong to tell owners of menacing dogs the animals need to be muzzled all the time, even at home.
Last week the Council wrote to the 159 owners of dogs classified as menacing, saying it had new legal advice that the dogs need to be muzzled at all times, even in the owner's home, unless in a cage or in a vehicle.
Dogs are classified as menacing if they have attacked or shown aggressive behaviour which the council says indicates they pose a threat to people or animals, or if they are predominantly or wholly certain breeds. The breeds classified as menacing are Brazilian Fila, American Pit Bull, Dogo Argentino, Perro de Presa Canario and the Japanese Tosa.
The move was opposed by dog rescue groups and the SPCA as a breach of the Animal Welfare Code.
After complaints, the council had obtained further advice which said menacing dogs did not need to be muzzled if they were inside the owner's house or contained securely within the owner's property.
The council apologised for sending out inaccurate information.