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Oklahoma

Oklahoma Statutes Annotated. Title 4. Animals. Chapter 3. Dogs and Cats.

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: 4 Okl. St. Ann. 41 - 47

Citation: OK ST T. 4 41 - 47


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 01/2014

Summary:   These statutes comprise Oklahoma's Dangerous Dog Laws.  The state imposes strict liability for dog bites; "the owner or owners of any dog shall be liable for damages to the full amount of any damages sustained when his dog, without provocation, bites or injures any person while such person is in or on a place where he has a lawful right to be."  Further, any person may lawfully kill a dog who is chasing that person's livestock.  An owner of a dog that has been adjudged "dangerous" must register the dog, enclose the dog except when out on a leash with muzzle, and post $50,000 in liability insurance.  An owner who does not follow the provisions not only faces the confiscation of his or her dog, but may also be subject to a one-year misdemeanor.


Statute in Full:

CHAPTER 3. DOGS AND CATS

§ 41. Animals chasing or injuring livestock--Right to kill--Liability of owner--Warrantless seizure--Court proceedings--Definitions

§ 42.1. Personal injury by dog-Liability of owner

§ 42.2. Lawful presence on owner's property, what constitutes-Public place, what is

§ 42.3. Exceptions to application of act-Existing rights and liabilities

§ 42.4. Owners of dangerous dogs, bite or attacks on public property-penalty

§ 43. Counties over 200,000 population-Regulation and control of dogs running at large-Penalties

DANGEROUS DOGS

§ 44. Definitions

§ 45. Certificate of registration for certain dogs required-Exemption-Fee

§ 46. Muzzle and restraint of certain dogs required-Local regulation of dangerous dogs-Dogs not to be declared dangerous

§ 47. Confiscation of dangerous dog-Purpose of act-Other remedies

 

 

§ 41. Animals chasing or injuring livestock--Right to kill--Liability of owner--Warrantless seizure--Court proceedings--Definitions

A. It shall be lawful for a person to kill any animal of the family canidae or the family felidae found chasing livestock off the premises of the owner of the animal if the person is the owner or occupant of the property on which the animal is chasing the livestock or if the person is authorized to kill such an animal by the owner or occupant of such property.

B. The owner of any animal of the family canidae or the family felidae that kills or injures any livestock shall be jointly and severally liable to any person so damaged, to the full amount of the injury done and damages caused, including reasonable attorney fees and litigation expenses.

C. 1. Any animal control officer or any municipal, county or state law enforcement officer may seize a potentially dangerous dog without a warrant:

a. if the dog is continuing to run at large at the time of the seizure,

b. if the officer has probable cause to believe the dog is a dangerous dog and the threat to the health, safety and welfare of livestock or persons is of a continuing nature under the circumstances, or

c. pursuant to Section 47 of this title.

2. Any animal seized pursuant to this subsection shall be held by the appropriate animal control authority until the appropriate terms and conditions of release necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of livestock and persons with whom the dangerous dog may come in contact are established by the supervisor of the animal control authority or a court of competent jurisdiction and agreed to by the owner.

D. 1. Upon commencement of any civil action to assess damages pursuant to this section, the court upon its own motion, or upon a motion by the plaintiff, and with notice to the defendant, and after a hearing thereon, may issue an order requiring seizure of a dog if the court has found probable cause to believe:

a. the dog is a potentially dangerous dog and the threat to the health, safety and welfare of livestock or persons is of a continuing nature under the circumstances, or

b. the dog will be adjudicated a common nuisance pursuant to subsection G of this section.

2. Any dog seized pursuant to this subsection shall be held by the appropriate animal control authority until conclusion of the civil action or until the court enters an order prescribing the appropriate terms and conditions of release necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of livestock and persons with whom the animal may come in contact.

E. The cost for the seizure and confinement of an animal as authorized by subsection C or D of this section shall be borne by the owner of the animal. However, in any civil action filed pursuant to this section, if the owner of the animal is the prevailing party, such costs shall be taxed in the case against the nonprevailing party.

F. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted so as to require any municipality or county to:

1. Operate or maintain an animal welfare facility; or

2. Accept or hold any seized animal from a municipal, county or state law enforcement officer, other than its own.

G. The court, before whom a recovery is had for any injury or damages as set forth in this section, shall declare the animal found to have occasioned the injury to be a common nuisance, and order the defendant to kill or cause to be killed, such animal within twenty-four (24) hours after the rendition of the judgment. Appeals shall be allowed in all such cases. Any appeals shall be prosecuted in a manner as prescribed by general statutes governing appeals.

H. The provisions of Sections 45, 46 and 47 of this title shall also apply to a dangerous dog as defined in subsection I of this section.

I. For purposes of this section:

1. “Livestock” means any cattle, bison, hog, sheep, goat, equine, domesticated rabbits, chicken or other poultry and shall include exotic livestock;

2. “Exotic livestock” means commercially raised exotic livestock including animals of the families bovidae, cervidae and antilocapridae or birds of the ratite group;

3. “Potentially dangerous dog” means any dog that, while the dog was allowed to run at large off the property of the owner, when unprovoked, on more than one occasion, was found to be chasing or aggressively creating a substantial threat to the health, safety and welfare of livestock or persons;

4. “Dangerous dog” means any dog that, while the dog was allowed to run at large off the property of the owner:

a. when unprovoked, killed or injured livestock, or

b. has been previously found to be a potentially dangerous dog, the owner having received notice of such by the animal control authority in writing, and continues to be found chasing or aggressively creating a substantial threat to the health, safety and welfare of livestock or persons;

 5. “Animal control authority” means the same as defined in Section 44 of this title;

 6. “Animal control officer” means the same as defined in Section 44 of this title; and

 7. “Owner” means the same as defined in Section 44 of this title.

Credits

R.L.1910, § 120; Laws 1935, p. 190, § 1; Laws 1949, p. 39, § 1, emerg. eff. Feb. 15, 1949; Laws 1993, c. 36, § 1, eff. July 1, 1993; Laws 2002, c. 187, § 2, eff. Nov. 1, 2002; Laws 2007, c. 40, § 1, eff. July 1, 2007; Laws 2013, c. 278, § 1, emerg. eff. May 14, 2013.

 

§ 42.1. Personal injury by dog--Liability of owner.

The owner or owners of any dog shall be liable for damages to the full amount of any damages sustained when his dog, without provocation, bites or injures any person while such person is in or on a place where he has a lawful right to be.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1947, p. 32, § 1, emerg. eff. March 11, 1947; Laws 1980, c. 75, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 1980.


 

§ 42.2. Lawful presence on owner's property, what constitutes--Public place, what is

For the purpose of Sections 42.1 through 42.3 of this title and Section 1 of this act [FN1] a person shall be considered to be lawfully upon the private property of the owner of a dog when he or she is on the property in the performance of any duty imposed upon the person by the laws of this state, or its political subdivision, or by the laws of the United States, or the postal regulations of the United States, or when reading meters, or making repairs to any public utility or service located on the premises, or when working on the property at the request of the owner or any tenant having a lease upon any portion of the property, or when on the property upon the invitation, either expressed or implied, of the owner or lessee of such property, or when on the property for any other lawful purpose. The term "public place" shall, for the purpose of Sections 42.1 through 42.3 of this title and Section 1 of this act, mean and include any and all public streets, sidewalks, alleyways, easements, buildings, parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities, and any and all places of business, amusement or entertainment which are privately owned, wherein merchandise, property, services, entertainment or facilities are offered for sale, hire, lease, or use.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1947, p. 32, § 2, emerg. eff. March 11, 1947; Laws 2006, c. 262, § 2, emerg. eff. June 7, 2006.

[FN1] O.S.L.2006, c. 262, § 1 [Title 4, § 42.4].

 

§ 42.3. Exceptions to application of act--Existing rights and liabilities

Provided that this act [FN1] shall not apply to rural areas of this state or to any cities or towns that do not have city or village United States mail delivery service. Provided, nothing herein shall be construed as diminishing any right or liability for injury by dog bites now existing under the laws of this state.

[FN1] Title 4, § 42.1 et seq.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1947, p. 32, § 3, emerg. eff. March 11, 1947.

 

§ 42.4. Owners of dangerous dogs, bite or attacks on public property-- penalty

A. It is unlawful for the owner of any dog that previously has:

1. When unprovoked inflicted bites on any person or severely injured any person either on public or private property; or

2. When unprovoked created an imminent threat of injury or death to any person, to permit such dog to run at large or aggressively bite or attack any person while such person is lawfully upon public or private property. Upon conviction, the violator shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one (1) year, or by imposition of a fine not to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment. In addition, the owner shall be liable for damages as provided in Section 42.1 of Title 4 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

B. The owner of any dangerous dog as defined by Section 44 of Title 4 of the Oklahoma Statutes, or any dog that is described in subsection A of this section, that attacks any person causing the death of such person shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for not more than five (5) years, or by the imposition of a fine not to exceed Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

C. It is unlawful for any person to release any dog upon a law enforcement officer while the officer is in the performance of official duties. Upon conviction, the violator shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for not more than five (5) years, or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one (1) year, or by imposition of a fine not exceeding Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

D. It shall be an affirmative defense to a prosecution pursuant to subsection A or B of this section that the injury or death was sustained by a person who, at the time, was committing a willful criminal act upon the premises of the owner of the dog or was assaulting the owner of the dog.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 2006, c. 262, § 1, emerg. eff. June 7, 2006.

 

§ 43. Counties over 200,000 population--Regulation and control of dogs running at large--Penalties

The board of county commissioners of any county with a population of two hundred thousand (200,000) or more according to the last Federal Decennial Census may regulate or prohibit the running at large of dogs within said county, and cause such dogs as may be running at large to be impounded and disposed of as otherwise provided for by law or sold to discharge the costs and penalties provided for the violation of such prohibition and the expense of impounding and keeping the same for such sale; and may also provide for the erection of all needful pens, pounds and buildings for the use of said county at any place within said county. It shall be the duty of the board of county commissioners of any county undertaking the regulation and taxation of dogs in said county under this act [FN1] to establish and enforce rules governing the same, and they shall enter into a definite cooperative agreement with the sheriff of said county prescribing said rules and regulations and the manner and terms of enforcement thereof, and for the financing and compensation therefor. The board of county commissioners may also regulate and provide for taxing the owners and harborers of dogs, and authorize the humane killing or disposal of dogs, found at large, contrary to any ordinance regulating the same. Any person, firm or corporation who violates any rule or regulation made by such board of county commissioners under the authority of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided by the laws of this state in any court of competent jurisdiction, provided that in the case of continuing offenses, each day on which the offense occurs shall constitute a separate offense.

[FN1] This section.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1959, p. 25, § 1.


§ 44. Definitions

As used in Section 44 et seq. of this title:

1. "Potentially dangerous dog" means any dog that:

a. when unprovoked inflicts bites on a human either on public or private property, or

b. when unprovoked attacks a dog which results in the death of said dog either on public or private property;

2. "Dangerous dog" means any dog that:

a. has inflicted severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property,

b. has been previously found to be potentially dangerous, the owner having received notice of such by the animal control authority in writing and the dog thereafter aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans, or

c. has been previously found to be potentially dangerous, the owner having received notice of such by the animal control authority in writing and the dog thereafter attacks a dog which results in the death of said dog either on public of private property;

3. "Severe injury" means any physical injury that results in broken bones or lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery;

4. "Proper enclosure of a dangerous dog" means, while on the owner's property, a dangerous dog shall be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure with at least one hundred fifty (150) square feet of space for each dog kept therein which is over six (6) months of age, and which is suitable to prevent the entry of children and designed to prevent the animal from escaping. Such pen or structure shall have secure sides and a secure top, and shall also provide protection from the elements for the dog;

5. "Animal control authority" means an entity acting alone or in concert with other local governmental units for enforcement of the animal control laws of the city, county and state and the shelter and welfare of animals;

6. "Animal control officer" means any individual employed, contracted with, or appointed by the animal control authority for the purpose of aiding the enforcement of this act or any other law or ordinance relating to the licensure of animals, control of animals, or seizure and impoundment of animals, and includes any state or local law enforcement officer or other employee whose duties in whole or in part include assignments that involve the seizure and impoundment of any animal; and

7. "Owner" means any person, firm, corporation, organization, or department possessing, harboring, keeping, having an interest in, or having control or custody of an animal.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1991, c. 199, § 1, eff. Feb. 1, 1992; Laws 2001, c. 159, § 1, emerg. eff. May 1, 2001; Laws 2006, c. 262, § 3, emerg. eff. June 7, 2006.

 

§ 45. Certificate of registration for certain dogs required--Exemption--Fee

A. It is unlawful for an owner to have a dangerous dog in the state without certificate of registration issued under this section. This section shall not apply to dogs used by law enforcement officials for police work.

B. The animal control authority of the city or county in which an owner has a dangerous dog shall issue a certificate of registration to the owner of such animal if the owner presents to the animal control unit sufficient evidence of:

1. A proper enclosure to confine a dangerous dog and the posting of the premises with a clearly visible warning sign that there is a dangerous dog on the property. In addition, the owner shall conspicuously display a sign with a warning symbol that informs children of the presence of a dangerous dog; and

2. A policy of liability insurance, such as homeowner's insurance, or surety bond, issued by an insurer qualified under Title 36 of the Oklahoma Statutes in the amount of not less than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) insuring the owner for any personal injuries inflicted by the dangerous dog.

C. If an owner has the dangerous dog in an incorporated area that is serviced by both a city and county animal control authority, the owner shall obtain a certificate of registration from the city authority.

D. Cities and/or counties may charge an annual fee not to exceed Ten Dollars ($10.00), in addition to regular dog licensing fees, if any are charged, not to exceed Ten Dollars ($10.00), to register dangerous dogs. Fees shall be retained by the city or county issuing license.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1991, c. 199, § 2, eff. Feb. 1, 1992.


 

§ 46. Muzzle and restraint of certain dogs required--Local regulation of dangerous dogs--Dogs not to be declared dangerous

A. It is unlawful for an owner of a dangerous dog to permit the dog to be outside the proper enclosure as defined by Section 44 of this title, unless the dog is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash and remains under the physical restraint of a responsible person over sixteen (16) years of age. The muzzle shall be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration but shall prevent it from biting any person or animal.

B. Potentially dangerous or dangerous dogs may be regulated through local, municipal and county authorities, provided the regulations are not breed specific. Nothing in this act shall prohibit such local governments from enforcing penalties for violation of such local laws.

C. Dogs shall not be declared dangerous if the threat, injury, or damage was sustained by a person who, at the time, was committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner of the dog, or was tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog or has, in the past, been observed or reported to have tormented, abused, or assaulted the dog or was committing or attempting to commit a crime.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1991, c. 199, § 3, eff. Feb. 1, 1992; Laws 2006, c. 262, § 4, emerg. eff. June 7, 2006.

[FN1] Title 4, § 44 et seq.

 

§ 47. Confiscation of dangerous dog--Purpose of act--Other remedies

A. Any dangerous dog shall be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority if:

1. The dog is not validly registered under Section 45 of this title;

2. The owner does not secure the liability insurance coverage or surety bond required under Section 45 of this title;

3. The dog is not maintained in the proper enclosure as defined by Section 44 of this title; and

4. The dog is outside of the dwelling of the owner, or outside the proper enclosure and not under physical restraint of the responsible person as required by Section 46 of this title.

B. The owner of a dangerous dog shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one (1) year or by the imposition of a fine not to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment for any violation of the laws relating to dangerous dogs resulting in the confiscation of such dog pursuant to any provision of subsection A of this section.

C. The owner of a dangerous dog shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one (1) year, or by the imposition of a fine not to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment for any personal injury caused by such dangerous dog. The fine, at the discretion of the court, may be offset by payments made by the dog owner to any victim of an injury or attack by the dog. However, insurance payments may not be considered as an offset. In addition, the court may require the owner to perform forty (40) hours of community service. The court may suspend any portion of the community service requirement set forth in this section. It shall be an affirmative defense to a prosecution pursuant to this subsection that the injury was sustained by a person who, at the time, was committing a willful criminal act upon the premises occupied by the owner of the dog or was assaulting the owner of the dog.

D. It is the purpose of Sections 44 through 47 of this title to provide additional and cumulative remedies to control dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs in this state. Nothing in this act shall be construed to abridge or alter rights of action or remedies of victims under the common law or statutory law, criminal or civil.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1991, c. 199, § 4, eff. Feb. 1, 1992; Laws 2006, c. 262, § 5, emerg. eff. June 7, 2006.

 



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