State Dangerous Dog Laws

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Charlotte Walden Publish Year:  2015 Place of Publication:  Michigan State University College of Law Primary Citation:  Animal Legal & Historical Center
Summary:

This table covers state laws that address dangerous dogs. These laws typically define when a dog is dangerous, the legal procedure that determines whether a dog is dangerous, conditions for owning a dangerous dog, euthanasia provisions, and penalties for the owner (and the dog). Currently, 39 states and several municipalities have dangerous dog codes.

Approximately, four to five million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. Of this number, approximately 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for these bites while only 0.0002 of these attacks are fatal. Dog bites are also one of the most popular reasons why children visit the emergency room. Since fatal dog attacks and dog bite injuries are within a State’s public health, safety, and welfare police power standard, 39 states and numerous municipalities currently have statutes and ordinances that regulate dogs believed to exhibit or engage in violent behaviors. These statutes and ordinances are known as Dangerous Dog laws.

While many cities and counties have enacted their own Dangerous Dog ordinances, the table below only details the 39 state laws. It is recommended that you look through your city or county’s ordinance for Dangerous Dog laws in addition to looking at the statutes listed below.

Actions that Classify a Dog as Dangerous

The definition of “dangerous dog” usually refers to the act or actions of a dog that puts the public or other animals at risk for injury or death. A state may also allow other animals to be declared dangerous as well. The “Definition” column in the table below reveals how each U.S. state defines dangerous dogs.

It is important to note that a Dangerous Dog law might use the phrase "vicious dog" instead of "dangerous dog," even though they are both referring to the same type of actions. However, a state may use a vicious dog classification in addition to a dangerous dog classification in order to distinguish a more serious act.

A Dangerous Dog statute may also have a potentially dangerous dog classification for acts or actions that are less severe than a dangerous/vicious dog classification. A few states include an even lower classification, either a nuisance or a menace dog, in their Dangerous Dog statutes as well.

The Procedure for Declaring a Dog Dangerous

In addition to providing a definitional section, Dangerous Dog statutes will typically provide a procedural section for determining whether a dog is dangerous, vicious, or potentially dangerous. Declaring a dog as dangerous may involve an administrative, a civil, or a criminal hearing. Currently, only four states (Colorado, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia) use criminal proceedings to declare a dog as dangerous. Colorado, Oregon, and Pennsylvania also define harboring, maintaining, or owning a dangerous dog as a crime. Typically, however, the determination is carried out by a local administrative body or a municipal court. Appeals from a local governmental body’s determination may be heard in a state court, as is the practice in Illinois. 

The “Procedure for Determination” column reveals how each state makes a dangerous, vicious, or potentially dangerous dog determination if the state includes any provisions.  

Consequences of a Determination

Once a dog has been determined to be dangerous, vicious, or potentially dangerous, the owner typically must follow specific safety precautions to reduce the chance of injury to another person or animal. In Virginia, an owner must register his or her Dangerous Dog on a web registry along with the fees, confinement, microchip, tattoo, leash, and muzzle requirements that are typical requirements for owning a dangerous dog. Pennsylvania also has a webpage with a Dangerous Dog Registry. Georgia prohibits owners from selling or transferring ownership of a vicious dog unless the transfer is to a veterinarian or a governmental body to euthanize the dog. Generally, the safety precautions for a potentially dangerous dog are less restrictive than a dangerous dog determination. The “Conditions for Owning” column reveals the ownership restrictions each state places on a dangerous, vicious, or potentially dangerous dog if any.

Euthanasia

A violation of a dangerous dog statute may cost the animal his or her life. Eighteen (18) states have mandatory euthanization provisions, 6 states have none, and 27 states give the determining body the discretion to order the animal euthanized. Mandatory euthanization provisions usually involve a dangerous or vicious dog that has attacked and caused death or serious injury to a person or a domestic animal. Although, a state, like Washington, may have a mandatory euthanization provision for a dog whose owner fails to comply with ownership conditions. Ohio is the only state that prohibits an owner from debarking dangerous dogs; if an owner violates this provision, the dog will be destroyed. Virginia, New Jersey, and Louisiana require, after a chance to appeal, all vicious dogs to be euthanized.

Violations that are mandatory euthanization in one state may only be discretionary in another. In New Jersey, for instance, a dog may be euthanized if the owner does not appear for a hearing. In Tennessee, however, a dog will be euthanized if the owner does not appear in court 5 days after receiving notice. For more information, please refer to the "Euthanasia Provisions" column below. 

Penalties

In addition to the animal losing his or her life, the owner may also face criminal charges, fines, prohibitions on owning a dog, and imprisonment for violating Dangerous Dog statutes. While misdemeanor offenses are the common penalty for violating dangerous dog statutes, 13 states have felony provisions. Typically, these felony provisions involve a dog that was previously declared dangerous or vicious, that attacks a person, and that attack results in a serious injury or death (see Florida, Nebraska, and Nevada below). Another common felonious crime occurs when an owner violates dangerous dog ownership conditions and the owner's dogs kills or causes serious injury to a person (see Illinois, Georgia, Ohio, and South Carolina below).  Oregon has a felony provision for any dog that kills a person, regardless if the dog was previously determined dangerous; Michigan has felony provisions, including an Involuntary Manslaughter charge, for an animal determined dangerous that either kills or causes serious injury to a person. Felony provisions are rarely provided for previously determined dangerous dogs who seriously injure or kill a domestic animal. Only two states, New Mexico and Washington, have felony provisions for this crime. South Carolina is the only state that makes it a felony to attempt to sell, offer to sell, breed, buy, or attempt to buy a known dangerous animal.

Please refer to the “Penalties” column for further details on each state’s punishments for Dangerous Dog violations.

 

State

Definition

Conditions for Owning

Procedure for Determination 

Euthanasia Provisions

Penalties

Alabama

Ala.Code 1975 § 3-1-3 mentions dangerous and vicious animals, but the statute does not define the terms

 

 

   

Penalties:

  • A person who keeps a dangerous or vicious animal of any kind, and through his negligent management of the animal allows it to break free, is liable to any person damaged personally or in his property as a result

Ala.Code 1975 § 3-1-3

Alaska

Vicious dog definition:

  • Any dog which when unprovoked has ever bitten or attacked a human being

AS § 03.55.020

   

Euthanasia:

  • Any person may lawfully kill any vicious or mad dog running at large

AS § 03.55.010

 
Arizona

Vicious animal definition:

  • Any animal of the order carnivora that has a propensity to attack, to cause injury to or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings without provocation, or that has been so declared after a hearing before a justice of the peace or a city magistrate
A.R.S. § 11-1001(16)

Aggressive dog definition:

  • Any dog that has bitten a person or domestic animal without provocation or has a known history of attacking persons or domestic animals without provocation

A.R.S. § 11-1014.01(D)(1)

Vicious dog ownership conditions:
  •  Not permitted at large

A.R.S. § 11-1012

Aggressive dog ownership conditions:

  • Owner is to take reasonable care to prohibit the dog from escaping
  • Owner is to take reasonable care to control the dog in a manner that prevents the dog from biting or attacking a person or domestic animal while the dog is off the owner's property

A.R.S. § 11-1014.01

Vicious animal  determination (no provisions listed for aggressive dog):

  • Officer impounds on probable cause and requests hearing
  • The officer or agent who requested the hearing shall serve owner with personal service or leave a copy of the notice with person of suitable discretion 
  • Justice or city magistrate makes the determination

 

A.R.S. § 11-1029

Euthanasia (no provisions listed for aggressive dog:
  •  A justice of the peace or city magistrate may issue an order to destroy a vicious animal after notice to the owner, if any, and the person who was bitten, and a hearing

A.R.S. § 11-1014

 Penalties:

  • Class 2 Misdemeanor
  • Owner strictly liable for damage/injury to persons or property

A.R.S. § 11-1019 and A.R.S. § 11-1025

Arkansas          
California

Potentially dangerous dog definition:

  • Any dog which, when unprovoked and off owner's property, on two separate occasions within the prior 36-month period, engages in any behavior that requires a defensive action by any person to prevent bodily injury
  • Any dog which, when unprovoked, bites a person causing a less severe injury
  • Any dog which, when unprovoked and off owner's property, on two separate occasions within the prior 36-month period, has killed, seriously bitten, inflicted injury, or otherwise caused injury attacking a domestic animal 

West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 31602

Vicious dog definition:

  • Any dog seized under Section 599aa of the Penal Code (Animal Fighting) and owner or keeper is convicted under subdivision (a) of Section 597.5 of the Penal Code
  • Any dog which, when unprovoked, in an aggressive manner, inflicts severe injury on or kills a human being
  • A potentially dangerous dog which, after its owner or keeper has been notified of this determination, continues the behavior described in Section 31602 or is maintained in violation of Section 31641, 31642, or 31643

West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 31603

Potentially dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Must be licensed and vaccinated
  • Must be registered
  • City or county may charge a registration fee
  • Must be kept indoors or in a securely fenced yard
  • May leave the owner's residence if the dog is restrained by a substantial leash
  • Must notify the animal control department of changes in dog's situation in writing within two working days after the changes

West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 31641 & West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 31643

Vicious dog ownership conditions:

  • Judicial authority must impose conditions on ownership if the vicious dog is not to be destroyed
  • Any enclosure required must meet requirements of section 31605

West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 31645 

Potentially dangerous or vicious dog determination:

  • Proper authority petitions court upon probable cause
  • Impoundment possible if immediate threat to public safety
  • Civil proceeding unless a city or county establishes an administrative hearing
  • The evidentiary standard is preponderance of evidence
  • The owner or keeper of the dog shall be served with notice of the hearing and a copy of the petition
  • The hearing shall be held promptly between 5 to 10 working days after service of notice upon the owner or keeper of the dog 
  • Jury is not available
  • Owner notified of determination in writing
  • May appeal the decision  5 days after the receipt of the notice of determination
  • Appeal hearing shall be de novo, and without a jury
  • The determination of the court hearing the appeal shall be final and conclusive upon all parties

West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 31621, et seq

Euthanasia: 

  • A dog determined to be a vicious dog may be destroyed if it is found that the release of the dog would create a significant threat to the public health, safety, and welfare

West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 31645

 Penalties:

  • Any violation involving a potentially dangerous dog shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500
  • Any violation involving a vicious dog shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000
  • Owner of a vicious dog may be prohibited by the city or county from owning, possessing, controlling, or having custody of any dog for a period of up to three years

West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 31646 & West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 31662

Colorado

Dangerous dog definition:

  • Engages in or is trained for animal fighting
  • Inflicts bodily or serious bodily injury or death of person or domestic animal
  • Demonstrates tendencies that would cause a reasonable person to believe that the dog may inflict bodily or serious bodily injury upon or cause the death of any person or domestic animal

 

Crime: A person commits ownership of a dangerous dog if such person owns, possesses, harbors, keeps, has a financial or property interest in, or has custody or control over a dangerous dog.

C. R. S. A. § 18-9-204.5(2)(b)

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Confine dog in an enclosure
  • Immediately report changes in the dog's situation
  • Get the dog a microchip implantation
  • Pay a microchip license fee
  • Notify in writing any provider of service or treatment that the dog has been subject of a conviction of a violation of this statute
  • Disclose in writing to a prospective owner that the dog has been the subject of a conviction of a violation
C. R. S. A. § 18-9-204.5(3)(e.5) 
Civil action may be bought against dog owners:
  • A person or a personal representative of a person who suffers serious bodily injury or death from being bitten by a dog while lawfully on public or private property shall be entitled to bring a civil action to recover economic damages against the dog owner


C.R.S.A. § 13-21-124

Euthanasia:

Penalties:

  • Ownership of a dangerous dog can be punished by a class 1 misdemeanor to a class 5 felony
  • Restitution may be ordered for the injured or dead domestic animal, for the property damage caused by the dog, and for title 16 provisions that govern restitution
C. R. S. A. § 18-9-204.5(e) and (f)
Connecticut          
Delaware

Dangerous dog definition:

  • Was declared potentially dangerous dog and was kept or maintained in violation of statutory requirements for owning a potentially dangerous dog
  • Killed or inflicted physical injury or serious physical injury upon a human being
  • Killed or inflicted serious physical injury upon a domestic animal
  • Was subject to, or was used to facilitate animal cruelty or animal fighting as alleged in a criminal complaint or charge

9 Del.C. § 920(3) & 9 Del. C. § 925

Potentially dangerous dog definition:

  • Attacked or inflicted physical injury upon a human being
  • Attacked or inflicted serious physical injury upon a domestic animal
  • Chased or pursued a person upon the streets, sidewalks or any public or private property, other than the dog owner's property, in an apparent attitude of attack on 2 separate occasions within a 12-month period

9 Del. C. § 920(9) & 9 Del. C. § 926

Dangerous animal definition:

  • Any dog or other animal which had been declared dangerous or potentially dangerous
  • Any dog or other animal which had been trained for animal fighting, or that has been used primarily or occasionally for animal fighting
  • Any dog or other animal which had been intentionally trained so as to increase its viciousness, dangerousness or potential for unprovoked attacks upon human beings or other animals
  • Any dog or other animal which had an individualized and known propensity, tendency or disposition, specific to the individual dog, for viciousness, dangerousness or unprovoked attacks upon human beings or other animals

11 Del. C. § 1327

Potentially dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Sterilize the dog
  • Keep dog indoors or within a securely fenced yard when on the owner's premises
  • Restrain dog by a substantial chain or leash not exceeding 6 feet when off owner's property

9 Del. C. § 926

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Sterilize the dog
  • Obtain liability insurance
  • Confine dog within a proper enclosure and leash dog when off the owner's property
  • Display a sign warning that a dangerous dog is on the premises
  • Immediately notify the animal control agency when the dog is loose, unconfined, has attacked a human being or another domestic animal, has been moved to another address, or dies

9 Del. C. § 925

 

 

 

 

Dangerous dog and potentially dangerous dog determination:

  • Dogs suspected to be dangerous or potentially dangerous are impounded by Animal Control
  • Owner sent notice of the impoundment
  • Within 7 days, Owner must return notice, with , a signed statement indicating whether the owner wishes the hearing to be conducted
  • If the owner waives the right to a hearing, the owner must abide by the findings and conclusions of the animal control agency or agree to relinquish ownership of such dog
  • Hearing held within 20 days of request being received 
  • Written notice provided to owner with reasons listed of the panel's decision; panel’s decision is final
  •  If a dog is determined to be dangerous and the Panel directs the animal control agency to dispose of the dog by euthanasia, the owner may appeal the Panel's decision to the Court of Common Pleas within 10 days of the receipt of the Panel's decision

9 Del. C. § 922 & 9 Del. C. § 924 


 

 

Euthanasia: 

  •  If the dog is classified as dangerous, the Panel may order the dog euthanized
  • If an owner cannot be found within 5 days, the Animal Control can destroy the dog
  • Mandatory destruction of the declared dangerous dog if the dog kills, attacks or inflicts physical injury or serious physical injury, without provocation upon a human being or domestic animal
9 Del. C.  § 928 & 9 Del. C. § 924
Penalties: 
  • Fines range from $50 to $2,000 depending on the offense and whether or not it is a subsequent offense

9 Del. C. § 928

 

D.C.

Dangerous dog definition:

  • Without provocation, causes a serious injury to a person or domestic animal; or
  • Without provocation, engages in behavior described in paragraph (4)(A)(i) after dog is determined to be a potentially dangerous dog

DC ST § 8-1901(1)(A)

Potentially dangerous dog definition:

  • Without provocation, chases or menaces a person or domestic animal in an aggressive manner, causing an injury to a person or domestic animal that is less severe than a serious injury
  • In a menacing manner, approaches without provocation any person or domestic animal as if to attack, or has demonstrated a propensity to attack without provocation or otherwise to endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals

 DC ST § 8-1901(4)(A)

Dangerous and potentially dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Must register the dangerous or potentially dangerous dog
  • Must leash a potentially dangerous dog if outside proper enclosure
  • Must keep a dangerous dog exclusively on the owner's property except for medical treatment or examination
  • Must notify the mayor within 24 hours if there has been a change in circumstances with a potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog
  • Must comply with special security requirements the Mayor may establish
  • Owner of a potentially dangerous dog must be 18 years old
  • Potentially dangerous dog must be spayed or neutered
  • A valid license must be issued for a potentially dangerous dog
  • A potentially dangerous dog must have current vaccinations
  • A potentially dangerous dog must have a proper enclosure
  • A potentially dangerous dog must be microchipped
  • Must have permission of property owner or homeowner's association to keep a potentially dangerous dog or a dangerous dog on the property
  • Owner of a dangerous dog must post a sign
DC ST § 8-1903; DC ST § 8-1904; DC ST § 8-1905

Potentially dangerous or dangerous dog determination:

  • Mayor investigates and determines
  • Mayor provides notice of the determination via mail, posting, personal service
  • Mayor may impound the dog pending final disposition of the case
  • Owner can contest determination
  • Owner notified of the determination
  • Owner may appeal determination in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia 

DC ST § 8-1902

Euthanasia:

The Mayor may humanely destroy a dog if:

  • (1) The dog has been determined to be a threat to public safety if it is returned to the owner;
  • (2) The owner fails to comply with the registration requirements of § 8-1904, the requirements of § 8-1905, or any special security or care requirements established by the Mayor;
  • (3) The owner fails to reimburse the animal control agency for the costs and expenses of the dog's impoundment as required by § 8-1902(d)(2); or
  • (4) The owner forfeits the dog for humane destruction

DC ST § 8-1903

Penalties:

  • Misdemeanor, imprisonment, and fines for violating ownership conditions
  • Up to $10,000 in fines for a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog that injures or kills a human or domestic animal
  • A violation of this chapter shall be a civil infraction

DC ST § 8-1906

Florida

Dangerous dog definition:

  • Aggressively bitten, attacked, or endangered or has inflicted severe injury on a human being on public or private property
  • Has more than once severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner's property
  • Has, when unprovoked, chased or approached a person in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack
West's F. S. A. § 767.11

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Must be registered and may have to pay a registration fee
  • Owner must be 18 years of age
  • Dog must have current rabies vaccinations
  • Must confine dog in a proper enclosure
  • Must post a warning sign
  • Must identify the dog with a tattoo or microchip
  • Must notify the proper authorities if the dog's circumstances change
  • Must provide the proper authorities with a new owner's information if the dog is sold
  • Must not permit the dog to be outside the proper enclosure unless the dog is muzzled and restrained by a leash; unless the dog is exercised in a securely fenced or enclosed area; or unless the dog is safely and securely restrained in a vehicle

West's F.S.A. § 767.12

Dangerous dog determination:

  • Animal control investigates reported incidents involving any dog that may be dangerous 
  • Animal control makes a determination and allows owner the opportunity for a hearing
  • Animal control notifies owner in writing of determination
  • Owner may request a hearing within 7 calendar days from the date of receipt of the notification of the sufficient cause finding
  • Each applicable local governing authority shall establish hearing procedures
  • Written notification once dog is classified
  • Owner may file a written request for appeal within 10 business days after receipt of written determination
West's F.S.A. § 767.12
Euthanasia:
  • Previously declared dangerous and bites or attacks a person or animal without provocation will be destroyed 10 days after written notification if no appeal 
  • Previously declared dangerous and attacks and causes severe injury or death to a person will be destroyed 10 days after written notification if no appeal
  • Not previously declared dangerous and attacks and causes severe injury or death to a person will be destroyed 10 days after written notification if no appeal

West's F.S.A. § 767.13

Penalties:
  • Noncriminal infraction for violating ownership conditions
  • First degree misdemeanor when previously declared dangerous dog attacks or bites a person or domestic animal
  • Second degree misdemeanor when previously declared dangerous dog attacks or bites a person or domestic animal and owner had prior knowledge of dog's propensities
  • Third degree felony when previously declared dangerous dog attacks and causes serious injury or death to a person

West's F.S.A. § 767.12 and West's F.S.A. § 767.13

Georgia

Classified dog definition:

  • Any dog that has been classified as either a dangerous dog or vicious dog pursuant to this article

Ga. Code Ann., 4-8-21(a)(1)

Dangerous dog definition:

  • Any dog that causes a substantial puncture of a person's skin by teeth without causing serious injury
  • Any dog that aggressively attacks in a manner that causes a person to reasonably believe that the dog posed an imminent threat of serious injury to such person or another person although no such injury occurs
  • While off the owner's property, kills a pet animal
Ga. Code Ann., 4-8-21(a)(2)

Vicious dog definition:

  • A dog that inflicts serious injury on a person or causes serious injury to a person resulting from reasonable attempts to escape from the dog's attack
Ga. Code Ann., 4-8-21(a)(6)

Dangerous and vicious dog ownership conditions:

  • Owner must be 18 years old
  • Owner of a dangerous or vicious dog must have a certificate; only one certificate per domicile
  • No certificate of registration shall be issued to any person who has been convicted of two or more violations of article 2
  • Owner must notify the dog control officer within 24 hours if the dog is loose, has attacked, or has died
  • Dog must remain on the premises unless the dog is on a leash and is under the immediate physical control of a capable person; the dog is in a closed or locked crate or cage; or the dog is working or training as a hunting, herding, or predator control dog
  • Owner must register the dog in new jurisdiction if the owner moves

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Owner of a dangerous dog must have a secure enclosure for the dog and post warning signs in order to obtain a certificate

Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-27; Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-28; Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-29 

Vicious dog ownership conditions:

  • Owner of a vicious dog must have a secure enclosure for the dog, post warning signs, obtain liability insurance, and microchip the dog in order to obtain a certificate
  • No person shall be the owner of more than one vicious dog
  • No certificate of registration for a vicious dog shall be issued to any person who has been convicted of a serious violent felony; the felony of dogfighting; the felony of aggravated cruelty to animals; or a felony involving trafficking illegal drugs
  • A vicious dog can not be transferred, sold, or donated to any other person unless it is relinquished to a governmental facility or veterinarian to be euthanized

Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-27; Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-28; Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-29 

Dangerous or vicious dog determination:

  • Dog control investigates upon receiving a report and makes a determination
  • The dog control officer can immediately impound a dog if the officer believes the dog poses a threat to the public safety
  • Dog control officer mails notice within 72 hours of determination with a form to request a hearing
  • The owner must request hearing within 15 days of date shown of notice, otherwise the determination is effective
  • At least ten days prior to the hearing, the animal control board, local board of health, or probate court conducting the hearing shall mail to the dog owner written notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing
  • Owner mailed written notice of determination within 10 days after hearing, effective
  •  Judicial review of the animal control board or local board of health's final decision may be had in accordance with Code Section 15-9-30.9. Judicial review of a probate court's final decision shall be in accordance with Code Section 5-3-2 and costs shall be paid as provided in Code Section 5-3-22

Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-23 & Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-24

Euthanasia:

  • Judge may order euthanasia if  the dog has seriously injured a human or presents a danger to humans not suitable for control under this article and:
    • The owner or custodian of the dog has been convicted of a violation of any state criminal law and the crime was related to such dog; or
    • Any local governmental authority has filed with the court a civil action requesting the euthanization of the dog
    • A dog that is found  to have caused a serious injury to a human on more than one occasion shall be euthanized
  • Dog may be euthanized if owner does not comply with ownership conditions 

Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-25Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-26, & Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-30

Penalties:
  • A dangerous dog or vicious dog shall be immediately confiscated by any dog control officer or by a law enforcement officer in the case of any violation of this article
  • Any person who violates any provision of this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor
  • Misdemeanor if the dangerous or vicious dog is outside of a secure enclosure and is not muzzled and restrained by a leash or in a closed and locked crate or cage.
  • Felony, $5,000 - $10,000 in fines, and/or 1 to 5 years imprisonment when an owner with a previous conviction for a violation of this act whose classified dog causes serious injury to a human being

Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-29 and Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-32

Hawaii          
Idaho

Vicious dog definition:

  • Any dog which, when not physically provoked, physically attacks, wounds, bites or otherwise injures any person who is not trespassing

I.C. § 25-2805

Vicious dog ownership conditions:

  • Must keep inside secure enclosure
  • If outside of secure enclosure, dog must be restrained by a chain sufficient to control the vicious dog

I.C. § 25-2805

Dangerous dog determination:

Not listed

Euthanasia:

  • For a second or subsequent violation of this subsection, the court may, in the interest of public safety, order the owner to have the vicious dog destroyed or may direct the appropriate authorities to destroy the dog

I.C. § 25-2805

Penalties:
  • Misdemeanor if persons guilty of a violation of section 25-2805 and in addition to any liability as provided in section 25-2806, Idaho Code

I.C. § 25-2805

Illinois

Potentially dangerous dog definition:

  • A dog that is unsupervised and found running at large with 3 or more other dogs

510 ILCS 5/2.17c

Dangerous dog definition:

  • Any individual dog anywhere other than upon the property of the owner or custodian of the dog and unmuzzled, unleashed, or unattended by its owner or custodian that behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to a person or a companion animal
  • A dog that, without justification, bites a person and does not cause serious physical injury

510 ILCS 5/2.05a

Vicious dog definition:

  • A dog that, without justification, attacks a person and causes serious physical injury or death or any individual dog that has been found to be a "dangerous dog" upon 3 separate occasions

510 ILCS 5/2.19b

 

 

 

Potentially dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Must be spayed or neutered and microchipped

510 ILCS 5/15.4

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Owner must pay a $50 public safety fine
  • Dog must be spayed or neutered and microchipped
  • One or more of the following:
    • Evaluation of the dog by a certified applied behaviorist or
    • Direct supervision by an adult 18 years of age or older whenever the animal is on public premises
  • Dog may be ordered to be muzzled whenever on public premises

510 ILCS 5/15.1(d)

Vicious dog ownership conditions:

  • Owner must pay $100 public safety fine
  • Dog must be spayed or neutered and microchipped
  • Dog is subject to an enclosure
  • Failure to comply with the above requirements means the animal control agency will impound the dog and the owner will pay a $500 fine plus impoundment fees 
  • Vicious dogs are only allowed outside of their enclosures for veterinarian visits, court, or natural disasters. In which case, the dog must be muzzled, leashed, and under the owner's control

510 ILCS 5/15

Potentially dangerous dog determination:

  • Dogs are deemed a potentially dangerous dog by the animal control warden or administrator 
  • The designation of “potentially dangerous dog” shall expire 12 months after the most recent violation of this Section

510 ILCS 5/15.4

Dangerous dog determination:

  • After a thorough investigation, an animal control warden, deputy administrator, or law enforcement agent may ask the Administrator, or his or her designee, or the Director, to deem a dog to be "dangerous"
  • No dog shall be deemed a "dangerous dog" unless shown to be a dangerous dog by a preponderance of evidence 

510 ILCS 5/15.1

Appeal dangerous dog determination to Circuit Court:

See 510 ILCS 5/15.3

Appeal of dangerous dog determination to Illinois Department of Agriculture:

See 510 ILCS 5/15.3

Vicious Dog determination:

  • The Administrator, Deputy Administrator, or law enforcement officer must give notice of the infraction that is the basis of the investigation to the owner, conduct a thorough investigation, and make a detailed report recommending a finding that the dog is a vicious dog and give the report to the States Attorney's Office and the owner
  • Administrator, State's Attorney, Director or any citizen of the county in which the dog exists may file a complaint in the circuit court in the name of the People of the State of Illinois to deem a dog to be a vicious dog
  • Must prove the dog is a vicious dog by clear and convincing evidence

510 ILCS 5/15

Euthanasia:
  •  Any dog which has been found to be a vicious dog and which is not confined to an enclosure shall be impounded. If the owner of the dog has not appealed the impoundment order to the circuit court in the county in which the animal was impounded within 15 working days, the dog may be euthanized
  • The judge has the discretion to order a vicious dog be euthanized

510 ILCS 5/15

Penalties:
  • Class C Misdemeanor for any person violating or aiding in or abetting the violation of any provision of this Act, or counterfeiting or forging any certificate, permit, or tag, or making any misrepresentation in regard to any matter prescribed by this Act, or resisting, obstructing, or impeding the Administrator or any authorized officer in enforcing this Act, or refusing to produce for inoculation any dog in his possession, or who removes a tag from a dog for purposes of destroying or concealing its identity
  • Class B misdemeanor for a subsequent offense of the above crime
  • Class 3 felony if the owner of a vicious dog fails to maintain or keep the dog in an enclosure or fails to sterilize the dog within the specified timeframe; and if the dog inflicts serious physical injury upon a person or causes the death of another person.
  • Class 2 felony, same as Class 3 felony listed above, but the owner knowingly allowed the dog to run at large or failed to take steps to keep the dog in an enclosure
  • Class 3 felony if the owner of a dangerous dog knowingly fails to comply with any order regarding the dog and the dog kills a person
  • Class 4 felony if the owner of a dangerous dog knowingly fails to comply with any order regarding the dog and the dog inflicts serious physical injury on a person or a companion animal

510 ILCS 5/26

Indiana          
Iowa          
Kansas          
Kentucky

Vicious dog definition:

  • A dog that has viciously and without cause, attacked a human being when off the premises of the owner or keeper

KRS § 258.235

Vicious dog ownership conditions: 

  • Dog must be confined in a locked enclosure or a locked kennel run with a secured top
  • Dog may leave the enclosure only to visit the veterinarian or to be turned in to an animal shelter
  • The dog must be muzzled when leaving the enclosure

KRS § 258.235

 

Vicious dog determination:

  • Any person who has been attacked by a dog, or anyone acting on behalf of that person, may make a complaint before the district court
  • A  copy of the complaint shall be served upon the person 
  • Failure of dog owner to appear or if the court finds the dog has viciously and without cause, attacked a human being when off the premises of the owner or keeper results in penalties

KRS § 258.235

Euthanasia:

  • If an owner does not show for a hearing and the court determines that person owns the dog and has viciously and without cause, attacked a human being when off the premises of the owner or keeper, the court may order the dog euthanized
  • Any vicious dog found running at large may be killed by any animal control officer or peace officer without liability for damages for the killing

KRS § 258.235

Penalties:
  • Any person violating or failing or refusing to comply with KRS § 258.235, except KRS 258.235(5)(a), shall, upon conviction, be fined between $5 - $100, or be imprisoned in the county jail between 5 to 60 days, or both
  • Any person violating KRS 258.235(5)(a) shall be punished by a fine between $50 to $200, or by imprisonment in the county jail between 10 to 60 days, or both

KRS § 258.990(b)

Louisiana

Dangerous dog definition:

  • Any dog which when unprovoked, on two separate occasions within the prior 36-month period, engages in any behavior that requires a defensive action by any person to prevent bodily injury when the person and the dog are off the property of the owner of the dog; or
  • Any dog which, when unprovoked, bites a person causing an injury; or
  • Any dog which, when unprovoked,  on two separate occasions within the prior 36-month period, has killed, seriously bitten, inflicted injury, or otherwise caused injury to a domestic animal off the property of the owner of the dog

 LAS-R.S. 14:102.14

Vicious dog definition:

  • Any dog which, when unprovoked, in an aggressive manner, inflicts serious bodily injury on or kills a human being and was previously determined to be a dangerous dog

LAS-R.S. 14:102.15

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Dog must be properly restrained or confined
  • Dog must be kept indoors or in a secure enclosure
  • Dog must be leashed when off owner's property
  • Dog must be licensed, vaccinated, and registered
  • Municipality or parish may charge a dangerous dog fee
  • Owner must post warning signs
  • Owner must notify the animal control agency about a change in the dog's circumstances

LAS-R.S.14:102.14 & LA-R.S. 102.17

Vicious dog ownership conditions:

  • Unlawful to own a vicious dog; the dog will be euthanized
LAS-R.S.14:102.15

 

 

Dangerous or vicious dog determination:
  • District attorney, sheriff, or animal control request a hearing in District Court
  • Upon the filing of the petition, the district judge shall immediately issue a rule on the owner of the dog to show cause why the dog should not be declared a dangerous or vicious dog
  • The owner of the dog may appeal to the court of competent jurisdiction an order of the district court determining the dog to be dangerous or vicious

LA-R.S.14:102.13

Euthanasia:
  • The district attorney, the sheriff, an animal control officer, or other designated representative can file a petition in the district court to request a hearing for the purpose of determining whether or not a dog which causes the death of or inflicts bodily injury on a human being will be euthanized
LAS-R.S. 14:102.18
  • In every case where the dog is established to be a vicious dog, the court shall enter an order for the dog to be humanely euthanized
LA-R.S.14:102.16
  • A dog determined by the court to be a dangerous dog may be humanely euthanized if it is determined that the dog poses an immediate threat to public health and safety
LA-R.S.14:102.13

Penalties:

  • Owner of a dog deemed vicious may be prohibited from owning a dog for 3 Years
  • Whoever owns a vicious dog shall be fined up to $500 or imprisoned for up to six months, or both
  • Whoever violates the provisions of owning a Dangerous Dog shall be fined up to $300

LAS-R.S. 14:102.14. and LAS-R.S. 14:102.15.

 

 

 

Maine

Dangerous dog definition:

  • A dog or wolf hybrid that bites an individual or a domesticated animal who is not trespassing on the dog or wolf hybrid owner's or keeper's premises at the time of the bite or
  • A dog or wolf hybrid that causes a reasonable and prudent person who is not on the dog or wolf hybrid owner's or keeper's premises and is acting in a reasonable and nonaggressive manner to fear imminent bodily injury by assaulting or threatening to assault that individual or individual's domestic animal

7 M.R.S.A. § 3907

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • The dog must be confined in a secure enclosure
  • The court shall specify the length of the period of confinement and may order permanent confinement
  • The dog must be muzzled and leashed when off premises
  • Court may order the owner to provide an animal control officer with photographs and descriptions of the dog
  • Court may order the dog tattooed or microchipped
  • Court may order other dogs confined or kept on owner's premises

7 M.R.S.A. 3952

Dangerous Dog determination:
  • Victim makes a complaint to law enforcement
  • Upon investigation of the complaint, the sheriff, local law enforcement officer or animal control officer may issue a civil violation summons for keeping a dangerous dog
  • A hearing commences

7 M. R. S. A. § 3952

 

Euthanasia:
  • If, upon hearing, the court finds that the dog is a dangerous dog, the court shall impose a fine and shall order the dog to be euthanized if it has killed, maimed or inflicted serious bodily injury upon a person or has a history of a prior assault or a prior finding by the court of being a dangerous dog

7 M. R. S. A. § 3952

Penalties:

  • A person who owns or keeps a dangerous dog commits a civil violation for which the court shall adjudge a fine of not less than $250 and not more than $1,000, plus costs, none of which may be suspended
  • The court may order restitution for any damages inflicted upon a person or a person's property
  • If a dog, whose owner or keeper refuses or neglects to comply with the order, wounds any person by a sudden assault or wounds or kills any domestic animal, the owner or keeper shall pay the person injured treble damages and costs to be recovered by a civil action.
  • If the owner refuses or neglects to comply with an order, the owner commits a Class D crime. The court, as part of the judgment, may prohibit a person convicted under this subsection from owning or possessing a dog or having a dog on that person's premises for a period of time. The prohibition may be permanent

7 M. R. S. A. § 3952

Maryland

Potentially dangerous dog definition:

  • The dog has inflicted a bite on a person while on public or private real property; when not on its owner's real property, has killed or inflicted severe injury on a domestic animal; or has attacked without provocation

MD Code, Criminal Law § 10-619(c)(1)

Dangerous dog definition:

  • A dog that without provocation has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person; or
  • A dog that without provocation is determined by the appropriate unit of a county or municipal corporation to be a potentially dangerous dog and, after the determination is made: bites a person; when not on its owner's real property, kills or inflicts severe injury on a domestic animal; or attacks without provocation.

MD Code, Criminal Law § 10-619 (a)(1)

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Dog owner may not leave a dangerous dog unattended on the owner's real property unless the dog is confined indoors; in a securely enclosed and locked pen; or in another structure designed to restrain the dog
  • Dog must be muzzled and leashed when off owner's property
  • If the owner wishes to sell the dog, the owner must give notice to potential owner of the dog's dangerous or potentially dangerous behavior. The owner must also notify the authority that made the determination of the sale

MD Code, Criminal Law § 10-619 

Potentially dangerous dog determination:

  • An appropriate unit of a county or municipal corporation may determine that a dog is potentially dangerous
  • Must notify the dog owner in writing of the reasons for this determination

MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-619

Dangerous dog determination:

None listed

MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-619

Euthanasia:

None listed

Penalties:
  • A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $2,500

MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-619

Massachusetts

Dangerous dog definition:

  • A dog that without justification, attacks a person or domestic animal causing physical injury or death; or
  • A dog that behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses an unjustified imminent threat of physical injury or death to a person or to a domestic or owned animal

M.G.L.A. 140 § 136A


Nuisance dog definition:

  • A dog that by excessive barking or other disturbance, is a source of annoyance to a sick person residing in the vicinity; or
  • A dog that by excessive barking, causing damage or other interference, a reasonable person would find such behavior disruptive to one's quiet and peaceful enjoyment; or
  • A dog that has threatened or attacked livestock, a domestic animal or a person, but such threat or attack was not a grossly disproportionate reaction under all the circumstances.

M.G.L.A. 140 § 136A 

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

If the hearing authority deems a dog a dangerous dog, the hearing authority shall order 1 or more of the following:

  • The dog be humanely restrained
  • The dog be confined to the premises of the owner
  • The dog be muzzled and leashed when not on owner's premises
  • The owner provides proof of insurance
  • The owner provides the licensing authority or animal control information by which the dog can be identified
  • The dog to be sterilized or euthanized
  • Ownership of the dog may not be transferred unless potential owner is aware of dog's dangerousness
  • No person over the age of 17 who has actual knowledge that a dog has been deemed dangerous shall permit a child under the age of 17 to own, possess or have the care or custody of such dog

M.G.L.A. 140 § 157

 
Nuisance or dangerous dog hearings
  • Anyone can file a complaint with the hearing authority
  • Complaint investigated by the hearing authority 

M.G.L.A. 140 § 157 

Appealing Hearing Authority's decision

  • Within 10 days after an order was issued, the owner or keeper of a dog may bring a petition in the district court 
  • After notice to all parties, the magistrate shall, review the order of the hearing authority
  • Based upon credible evidence and testimony presented at trial, the court shall, whether the dog was initially complained of as a nuisance dog or as a dangerous dog: (i) dismiss the complaint; (ii) deem the dog a nuisance dog; or (iii) deem the dog a dangerous dog. The decision of the court shall be final and conclusive upon the parties

M.G.L.A. 140 § 157 

 

Euthanasia: 

  • The hearing authority may order  that the dog be humanely euthanized
  • Any police officer, constable or dog officer shall kill a dog which the selectmen of a town, chief of police of a city, or the county commissioners, or, upon review, the district court, shall have ordered to be restrained if such dog is again found outside the enclosure of its owner or keeper and not under his immediate care, and may kill a dog which is living in a wild state

M.G.L.A. 140 § 157 and M.G.L.A. 140 § 158

Penalties:

  • If an owner or keeper of a dog is found in violation of an order issued under this section, the dog shall be subject to seizure and impoundment 
M.G.L.A. 140 § 157
  • Up to $500 in fines, up to 60 days in jail or house of correction , or both for failing to comply with an order of a hearing authority or district court on a first offense
    • For a second or subsequent offense by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 90 days in a jail or house of correction
 M.G.L.A. 140 § 157A
  • If a hearing authority or a district court has deemed a dog to be a dangerous dog and such dog wounds a person or worries, wounds or kills any livestock or fowl, the owner or keeper of the dog shall be liable in tort to the person injured by the dog for 3 times the amount of damages sustained by such person
M.G.L.A. 140 § 159

 

 
Michigan

Dangerous animal definition:

  • A dog or other animal that bites or attacks a person, or
  • A dog that bites or attacks and causes serious injury or death to another dog while the other dog is on the property or under the control of its owner

MCLA 287.321

Dangerous animal ownership conditions:

If the court or magistrate finds that an animal is a dangerous animal but has not caused serious injury or death to a person, the court or magistrate shall order the owner of that animal to do 1 or more of the following:

  • Have the dog tattooed
  • Take specific steps, such as escape proof fencing or enclosure, including a top or roof, to ensure that the animal cannot escape or nonauthorized individuals cannot enter the premises
  • Have the animal sterilized
  • Obtain and maintain liability insurance coverage sufficient to protect the public from any damage or harm caused by the animal
  • Take any other action appropriate to protect the public

MCLA 287.322

 

 
Dangerous animal determination:
  • Court issues a summons upon a sworn complaint 
  • Animal confiscated until a decision is made
  • Order for destruction of the animal if the animal is found to be a dangerous animal that caused serious injury or death to a person or a dog
  • Order for owner to follow restrictions if the dog is found dangerous but has not caused serious injury or death to a person

MCLA 287.322

Euthanasia:
  • After a hearing, the magistrate or court shall order the destruction of the animal, at the expense of the owner, if the animal is found to be a dangerous animal that caused serious injury or death to a person or a dog
  • After a hearing, the court may order the destruction of the animal, at the expense of the owner, if the court finds that the animal is a dangerous animal that did not cause serious injury or death to a person but is likely in the future to cause serious injury or death to a person or in the past has been adjudicated a dangerous animal

MCLA 287.322

Penalties:
  • Involuntary Manslaughter if dangerous animal kills a person 
  • Felony, not less than $2,000 in Fines, up to 4 years Imprisonment, and/or not less than 500 hours of Community Service for serious injury other than death to a person
  • Misdemeanor, up to $500 in Fines, up to 90 days Imprisonment, and/or not less than 240 hours of Community Service for a dog attacking and biting a person that causes an injury
  • Misdemeanor, not less than $250 in Fines, up to 90 days Imprisonment, and/or not less than 240 hours of Community Service if dangerous animal found at large
  • The court may order a person convicted under this section to pay the costs of the prosecution

MCLA 287.323

Minnesota

Dangerous dog definition:

  • Any dog that has without provocation, inflicted substantial bodily harm on a human being on public or private property;
  • Any dog that has killed a domestic animal without provocation while off the owner's property; or
  • Any dog that has been found to be potentially dangerous, and after the owner has notice that the dog is potentially dangerous, the dog aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans or domestic animals

Potentially dangerous dog definition:

  • Any dog that when unprovoked, inflicts bites on a human or domestic animal on public or private property;
  • Any dog that when unprovoked, chases or approaches a person upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public or private property in an apparent attitude of attack; or
  • Any dog that when has a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked,  causing injury or otherwise threatening the safety of humans or domestic animals

M.S.A. § 347.50

 

Potentially dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Must implant a microchip in the dog
M.S.A. 347.515
  • Any statutory or home rule charter city, or any county, may regulate potentially dangerous and dangerous dogs

M.S.A. 347.53.

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Must have a surety bond issued of at least $300,000, payable, or a policy of liability insurance of at least $300,000
  • Must be kept in a proper enclosure
  • Must pay a registration fee of up to $500
  • Must display a warning sign
  • Must wear an identifiable tag

M.S.A. 347.51

  • Must disclose, if the dangerous dog owner rents property, to the landlord that the person owns a dangerous dog that will reside at the property
  • If the dog is outside the proper enclosure, the dog must be muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash and under the physical restraint of a responsible person
  • Must register the dog annually until the dog is deceased. If the dog is removed from the jurisdiction, it must be registered as a dangerous dog in its new jurisdiction.
  • Must notify animal control if there is a change in the dog's circumstances
  • Must notify the new owner that the animal control authority has identified the dog as dangerous

 M.S.A. 347.52

  • Must implant a microchip in the dog


 M.S.A. 347.515

 

Potentially dangerous dog determination: 

None listed

Dangerous dog determination:

  • The owner of any dog declared dangerous has the right to a hearing by an impartial hearing officer
  • The authority declaring the dog dangerous shall give notice of this section 
  • The hearing officer must be an impartial employee of the local government or an impartial person retained by the local government to conduct the hearing.
  • The hearing officer shall issue a decision on the matter within ten days after the hearing
  • The decision must be delivered to the dog's owner by hand delivery or registered mail as soon as practical and a copy must be provided to the animal control authority
  • Beginning six months after a dog is declared a dangerous dog, an owner may request annually that the animal control authority review the designation

M.S.A. 347.51

Euthanasia:
  • Mandatory euthanization for conviction of subsequent violations

M.S.A. 347.54

A dog may be destroyed in a proper and humane manner by the animal control authority if the dog:

  • (1) inflicted substantial or great bodily harm on a human on public or private property without provocation;
  • (2) inflicted multiple bites on a human on public or private property without provocation;
  • (3) bit multiple human victims on public or private property in the same attack without provocation; or
  • (4) bit a human on public or private property without provocation in an attack where more than one dog participated in the attack 

M.S.A. 347.56

Penalties:
  • It is a misdemeanor to:
    • remove a microchip from a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog
    • to fail to renew the registration of a dangerous dog
    • to fail to account for a dangerous dog's death or change of location where the dog will reside
    • to sign a false affidavit with respect to a dangerous dog's death or change of location where the dog will reside
    • to fail to disclose ownership of a dangerous dog to a property owner from whom the person rents property
  • Gross misdemeanor for second or subsequent violation of the above provisions.
  • An owner who violates section 347.542, subdivision 1, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor
  • Any household member who knowingly violates section 347.542, subdivision 2, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor

M.S.A. 347.55

 

 

Mississippi          
Missouri          
Montana

Vicious dog definition:

  • Vicious dog is defined as one which bites or attempts to bite any human being without provocation or which harasses, chases, bites, or attempts to bite any other animal

MCA 7-23-2109 

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

Places this power with the state's counties

Dangerous dog determination:

Places this power with the state's counties

Euthanasia:

Places this power with the state's counties

Penalties:

Places this power with the state's counties

Nebraska

Potentially dangerous dog definition:

  • Any dog that when unprovoked inflicts an injury on a human being that does not require medical treatmentinjures a domestic animal, or chases or approaches a person upon streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack or
  • Any specific dog with a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack when unprovoked, to cause injury, or to threaten the safety of humans or domestic animals

Neb.Rev.St. § 54-617(7)

Dangerous dog definition:

A dog that, according to the records of an animal control authority:

  • has killed a human being;
  • has inflicted injury on a human being that requires medical treatment;
  • has killed a domestic animal without provocation; or
  • has been previously determined to be a potentially dangerous dog by an animal control authority the owner has received notice of such determination, and the dog inflicts an injury on a human being that does not require medical treatment, injures a domestic animal, or threatens the safety of humans or domestic animals

Neb.Rev.St. § 54-617

 

Potentially dangerous dog ownership conditions:

No restrictions listed

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Must securely confine a dangerous dog while the dog is unattended on the owner's property
  • Must post warning signs on the property
  • Must sterilize the dog
  • Must implant a microchip on the dog
  • Must securely restrain the dog by a chain or leash when off the owner's property
  • Must not transport such dog or permit such dog to be transported to another county, city, or village in this state, unless for a reasonable veterinary purpose
  • If moving, must obtain written permission prior to such relocation from the animal control authority of the county, city, or village in which the owner resides and from the county, city, or village in which the owner will reside

Neb.Rev.St. § 54-618 & Neb.Rev.St. § 54-619

 

 

Potentially dangerous dog determination:

None listed

Dangerous dog determination:

  • Relies on Animal Control records to make a determination

Neb.Rev.St. § 54-617

Euthanasia: 
  • In addition to any other penalty, a court may order the animal control authority to dispose of a dangerous dog in an expeditious and humane manner
  • If a dangerous dog of an owner with a prior conviction under sections 54-617 to 54-624 attacks or bites a human being or domestic animal, the dangerous dog shall be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority, placed in quarantine for the proper length of time, and thereafter destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner

Neb.Rev.St. § 54-621 and Neb.Rev.St. § 54-623

Penalties:

  • Any dangerous dog may be immediately confiscated by an animal control officer if the owner is in violation of sections 54-617 to 54-624 
  • Any owner convicted of a violation of sections 54-617 to 54-624 shall not own a dangerous dog within 10 years after such conviction. Violation of this is a Class IIIA misdemeanor
  • Class I misdemeanor for dangerous dog inflicting  serious bodily injury on a human
  • Class IV felony for a dangerous dog's subsequent serious bodily injury on a human
  • Class IIIA misdemeanor for a dangerous dog  attacking or biting a human being or domestic animal

Neb.Rev.St. § 54-622; Neb.Rev.St. 54-622.01.; and Neb.Rev.St. § 54-623

Nevada

Dangerous dog definition:

  • A dog may be declared dangerous by a law enforcement agency if it is used in the commission of a crime by its owner or keeper; or
  • A dog is dangerous if without provocation, on two separate occasions within 18 months, it behaved menacingly, to a degree that would lead a reasonable person to defend himself or herself against substantial bodily harm, when the dog was off the premises of its owner or keeper; or not confined in a cage, pen or vehicle

Vicious dog definition:

  • A dog is vicious if without being provoked, it killed or inflicted substantial bodily harm upon a human being; or
  • A dog is vicious after its owner or keeper had been notified by a law enforcement agency that the dog is dangerous, the dog continued the behavior that designated the dog dangerous

N. R. S. 202.500

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

No restrictions listed

Vicious dog ownership conditions:

Prohibited from owning a vicious dog

N. R. S. 202.500 

Dangerous dog determination:

None listed

Euthanasia:
  • If substantial bodily harm results from an attack by a dog known to be vicious, the judge may order the vicious dog to be humanely destroyed

N. R. S. 202.500

Penalties:
  • Misdemeanor for keeping or knowingly owning  a vicious dog
  • Category D felony for substantial bodily harm resulting from an attack by a dog known to be vicious

N. R. S. 202.500

New Hampshire

Nuisance dog definition:

  • If a dog is "at large"
  • If it barks for sustained periods of more than 1/2 hour, or during the night hours so as to disturb the peace and quiet of a neighborhood or area,
  • If it digs, scratches, or excretes, or causes waste or garbage to be scattered on property other than its owner's
  • If any female dog in season (heat) is permitted to run at large or be off the premises of the owner except when being exercised on a leash by a responsible adult

Menace dog definition:

  • If it growls, snaps at, runs after, or chases any person or persons not on the premises of the owner or keeper
  • If it runs after, or chases bicycles, motor vehicles, motorcycles, or other vehicles being driven, pulled or pushed on the streets, highways, or public ways

Vicious dog definition:

  • If, whether alone or in a pack with other dogs, it bites, attacks, or preys on game animals, domestic animals, fowl or human beings
N.H. Rev. Stat. § 466:31 to 31-a

 

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

None listed

Nuisance, Menace, or Vicious dog determination:
  • If such person chooses to pay the civil forfeiture, the person shall be deemed to have waived the right to have the case heard in district or municipal court and shall not be prosecuted 
  • Any person who does not pay the civil forfeiture shall have the case disposed of in district or municipal court
  • Any person who pays a civil forfeiture twice in any 12-month period according to the records of the town or city clerk, may not pay a civil forfeiture for subsequent violations of RSA 466:31 in that 12-month period, but shall have those cases disposed of in district or municipal court
  • In the case of a vicious dog, where its behavior presents a threat to public safety, immediate district court or municipal court proceedings may be initiated in lieu of the civil forfeiture 

N.H. Rev. Stat. 466:31-a

Euthanasia:
None listed
Penalties:

Violation: Any person who violates any provision of RSA 466:31 shall be guilty of a violation, unless they choose to pay a civil forfeiture

Civil Forfeiture: If the owner chooses to pay a civil forfeiture, the owner will pay the following:

(a) $25 for the first nuisance offense; and $100 for the second or subsequent nuisance offense committed within 12 months of the first nuisance offense

(b) $50 for the first menace offense; and $200 for the second or subsequent menace offense committed within 12 months of the first menace offense

(c) $100 for the first vicious offense

(d) $400 for the second or subsequent vicious offense committed within 12 months of the first vicious offense

N.H. Rev. Stat. 466:31-a

 New Jersey

Potentially dangerous dog:

The municipal court shall declare a dog to be potentially dangerous if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that the dog:

  • caused bodily injury to a person during an unprovoked attack, and poses a serious threat of bodily injury or death to a person, or
  • severely injured or killed another domestic animal, and poses a threat of serious bodily injury or death to a person; or poses a threat of death to another domestic animal, or
  • has been trained, tormented, badgered, baited or encouraged to engage in unprovoked attacks upon persons or domestic animals.
N.J.S.A. 4:19-18 &  N.J.S.A. 4:19-23

Vicious dog:

The municipal court shall declare the dog vicious if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that the dog:

  • killed a person or caused  serious bodily injury to a person; or
  • has engaged in dog fighting activities

N.J.S.A. 4:19-18 &  N.J.S.A. 4:19-22

Potentially Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Notify animal control when the dog is at large, has a attacked a human being or animal, dies, sold or donated
  • Prior to selling or donating the dog, inform the prospective owner that the dog has been declared potentially dangerous
  • Upon the sale or donation of the dog to a person residing in a different municipality, notify the department and the licensing authority, police department or force, and animal control officer of that municipality of the transfer of ownership
  • May have to pay a potentially dangerous dog fee
  • Register the dog and obtain a number and red identification tag
  • Tattoo the registration number on the dog
  • Erect and maintain an enclosure to keep the dog
  • If taken out of the enclosure, dog must be securely muzzled and restrained with a tether
  • May require the owner to maintain liability insurance in an amount determined by the municipal court
  • Display a warning sign

N.J.S.A. 4:19-28 & N.J.S.A. 4:19 -24

 

 

 
Vicious or Potentially Dangerous determination
  •  Animal Control impounds a dog it has reasonable cause to believe attacked a person, caused bodily injury or death to a person, and others

N.J.S.A. 4:19 -19

  • Animal Control notifies court of the impoundment and that a hearing is required
  • If the owner can be found, the owner is notified of the impoundment and that owner may request a hearing.
  • Owner has to return notice in 7 days 

N.J.S.A. 4:19-20

  • Municipality and owner can enter into an agreement

 N.J.S.A. 4:19-21.1

  • Municipal court shall declare a dog vicious or potentially dangerous by clear and convincing evidence

N.J.S.A. 4:19-22; &  N.J.S.A. 4:19-23

  • The owner of the dog, or the animal control officer in the municipality in which the dog was impounded, may appeal any final decision, order, or judgment, including any conditions attached thereto, of a municipal court by filing an appeal with the Superior Court
 N.J.S.A. 4:19-25

 

Euthanasia:
  •  If the municipal court declares a dog to be vicious, and no appeal is made, the dog shall be destroyed 
  • An animal control officer is authorized to seize and impound any potentially dangerous dog whose owner fails to comply with the ownership conditions. The municipal court may order that the dog so seized and impounded be destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner
  • Dog may be euthanized if owner does not respond to notice or request a hearing
  • Dog may be euthanized if owner cannot be found

N.J.S.A. 4:19-20N.J.S.A. 4:19-22 and N.J.S.A. 4:19-29

Penalties:
  • The owner of a potentially dangerous dog who is found by clear and convincing evidence to have violated this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, or to have failed to comply with a court's order shall be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 per day of the violation, and each day's continuance of the violation shall constitute a separate and distinct violation

N.J.S.A. 4:19-29

New Mexico

Potentially dangerous dog definition:

Potentially dangerous dog means a dog that may reasonably be assumed to pose a threat to public safety as demonstrated by the following behaviors:

  • causing an injury to a person or domestic animal that is less severe than a serious injury;
  • chasing or menacing a person or domestic animal in an aggressive manner and without provocation; or
  • acting in a highly aggressively manner within a fenced yard or enclosure and appearing able to jump out of the yard or enclosure
N.M.S.A. § 77-1A-2

Dangerous dog definition:

  • Dangerous dog means a dog that caused a serious injury to a person or domestic animal
N.M.S.A. § 77-1A-2

 

Potentially dangerous dog ownership conditions:

Animal control will issue a certificate of registration if the owner:

  • is able to keep the dog under control at all times
  • keeps the dog's rabies vaccination current
  • has a proper enclosure for the dog
  • pays an annual potentially dangerous dog fee, if applicable
  • has the dog sterilized
  • has the dog implanted with a microchip
  • has entered the dog in a socialization and behavior program approved or offered by the animal control authority
  • notify animal control about changes in the dog's circumstances

N.M.S.A. § 77-1A-5 & NM ST § 77-1A-6

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

Animal control will issue a certificate of registration if the owner:

  • pays an annual fee if applicable
  • has written permission of the property owner or homeowner's association where the dangerous dog will be kept, if applicable;
  • will maintain the dangerous dog exclusively on the owner's property except for medical treatment or examination;
  • cages or muzzles and restrains the dog with a lead no longer than four feet if the dog is taken off the owner's property
  • will not allow the dog to be transported in a vehicle that might allow the dog to escape or gain access to any person or animal outside the vehicle
  • posts a warning sign
  • notify animal control about changes in the dog's circumstances

N.M.S.A. § 77-1A-5 & N.M.S.A. § 77-1A-6

 

Dangerous or potentially dangerous determination:

  • Animal control authority may  seize the animal after obtaining a warrant
  • Owner's options after impoundment:
    • admit Dog is Dangerous or Potentially Dangerous and obtain the certificate
    • animal Control Authority petitions the court to seek a dangerous or potentially dangerous determination by clear and convincing evidence
N.M.S.A. § 77-1A-4

 

Euthanasia:
  • If the owner admits that the dog is dangerous and transfers ownership of the dog to the animal control authority, the animal control authority may humanely destroy the dog
  • Comply with ownership conditions within 30 days  after determination or have the dog destroyed

N.M.S.A. § 77-1A-4

Penalties:
  • Misdemeanor for failing to comply with ownership conditions
  • Fourth degree felony on second or subsequent offense for failing to comply with ownership conditions
  • Fourth degree felony for an owner whose dangerous or potentially dangerous dog that causes serious injury or death to a domestic animal without provocation
  • Third degree felony for an owner whose dangerous or potentially dangerous dog that causes serious injury to a human being, without provocation
  • Third degree felony for an owner whose dangerous or potentially dangerous dog that causes the death of a human being without provocation 

N.M.S.A. § 77-1A-6

New York

Dangerous dog definition:

  • Any dog which without justification attacks a person, companion animal, farm animal, or domestic animal, and causes physical injury or death
  • Any dog which behaves in a manner which a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to one or more persons, companion animals, farm animals or domestic animals or
  • Any dog which without justification attacks a service dog, guide dog or hearing dog and causes physical injury or death

McKinney's Agriculture and Markets Law § 108(24)(a)

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Sterilize the dog
  • Microchip the dog and
  • One or more of the following as deemed appropriate under the circumstances and as deemed necessary for the protection of the public:
    • Evaluation of the dog 
    • Secure, humane confinement of the dog 
    • Restraint of the dog on a leash by an adult of at least 21 years of age 
    • Muzzling the dog 
    • Maintenance of a liability insurance policy in an amount determined by the court, not to exceed $100,000

 

McKinney's Agriculture and Markets Law § 123

 
Dangerous dog determination: 
  • Person makes a complaint to Dog Control or Police Officer
  • Officer informs complainant of right to commence a proceeding. 
  • Person makes a complaint to a municipal judge or justice
  • Municipal judge determines probable cause to seize animal
  • Municipal judge of justice holds a hearing within 5 days of written notice
  • Clear and convincing evidence standard
  • The owner of a dog found to be a "dangerous dog" may appeal such determination and/or the court's order concerning disposition of the dog to the court having jurisdiction to hear civil appeals in the county where the "dangerous dog" finding was made 

McKinney's Agriculture and Markets Law § 123

Euthanasia:
  • Judge of Justice of the Peace may order euthanasia upon a finding that a dog is dangerous if one of the following aggravating circumstances is established at the judicial hearing:

(a) the dog, without justification, attacked a person causing serious physical injury or death; or

(b) the dog has a known vicious propensity as evidenced by a previous unjustified attack on a person, which caused serious physical injury or death; or

(c) the dog, without justification, caused serious physical injury or death to a companion animal, farm animal or domestic animal, and has, in the past two years, caused unjustified physical injury or death to a companion or farm animal as evidenced by a “dangerous dog” finding

McKinney's Agriculture and Markets Law § 123

 

Penalties:
  • Misdemeanor punishable by up to $3,000 in fines or up to 90 days in jail or both for the owner who, through any act or omission, negligently permits his or her dog, which had previously been determined to be dangerous, to bite a person causing serious physical injury
  • Class A misdemeanor to the owner of any dangerous dog that without justification killed or caused the death of any person who was lawfully and peaceably conducting himself or herself
  • The owner or lawful custodian of a dangerous dog shall be strictly liable for medical costs resulting from injury caused by such dog to a person, companion animal, farm animal or domestic animal

McKinney's Agriculture and Markets Law § 123

North Carolina

Potentially dangerous dog definition:

Means a dog that the person or Board designated by the county or municipal authority responsible for animal control determines to have:

  • Inflicted a bite on a person that resulted in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations or required cosmetic surgery or hospitalization; or
  • Killed or inflicted severe injury upon a domestic animal when not on the owner's real property; or
  • Approached a person when not on the owner's property in a vicious or terrorizing manner in an apparent attitude of attack

N.C.G.S.A. § 67-1(a)(2)

Dangerous dog definition:

  • A dog that without provocation has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person; or
  • Any dog that is determined by the person or Board designated by the county or municipal authority responsible for animal control to be potentially dangerous because the dog has engaged in one or more of the behaviors listed in the potentially dangerous dog definition
  • Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting, or any dog trained for dog fighting
N.C.G.S.A. § 67-1(a)(1)

 

Potentially dangerous dog ownership conditions:

No restrictions listed

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Dog must be confined indoors, in a securely enclosed and locked pen, or in another structure designed to restrain the dog;
  • Dog must be leashed and muzzled or otherwise restrained  beyond the owner's real property 
  • Provide written notice to the authority that made the determination and the person taking ownership of the dog when ownership is transferred

N.C.G.S.A. § 67-4.2

 
Potentially dangerous and dangerous dog determination:
  • Person or Board designated for determination and appeal
  • The person or Board making the determination that a dog is a "potentially dangerous dog" must notify the owner in writing, giving the reasons for the determination
  • The owner may appeal the determination by filing written objections with the appellate Board within three days.
  • The appellate Board shall schedule a hearing within 10 days of the filing of the objections

N.C.G.S.A. § 67-4.1

Euthanasia:

None listed

Penalties:
  • Class 1 misdemeanor to the owner of a dangerous dog that attacks a person and causes physical injuries requiring medical treatment in excess of $100.00
  • The owner of a dangerous dog shall be strictly liable in civil damages for any injuries or property damage the dog inflicts upon a person, his property, or another animal
  • Class 3 misdemeanor to the owner of a dangerous dog who allows the dog to be off the owner's property without a leash and muzzle
  • Class 3 misdemeanor for an owner to leave a dangerous dog unattended on the owner's property without being securely confined
  • Class 3 misdemeanor Ito the owner  who transfers ownership of dangerous dog to another person without notify the determining authority of the transfer and notifying the new owner that the dog has been classified as being dangerous


N.C.G.S.A. § 67-4.2N.C.G.S.A. § 67-4.3, and N.C.G.S.A. § 67-4.4

North Dakota          
Ohio

Nuisance dog definition:

  • A dog that without provocation and while off the premises of its owner, keeper, or harborer has chased or approached a person in either a menacing fashion or an apparent attitude of attack or has attempted to bite or otherwise endanger any person

Dangerous dog definition:

  • A dog that, without provocation has done any of the following caused injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person; killed another dog; been the subject of a third or subsequent violation of division (C) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code

Vicious dog definition:

  • A dog that, without provocation has killed or caused serious injury to any person
R.C. 955.11

Nuisance dog ownership conditions:

No restrictions listed

Dangerous or vicious dog ownership conditions:

  • When transferring ownership, seller must inform buyer about dog's behavior and must inform the proper authorities of the transfer
  • Must have the dog on a leash and possibly a muzzle when off the owner's property
  • Must obtain liability insurance
  • Must register the dog to someone 18 years or older
  • Must notify the proper authority if the dog is loose, bites a person, attacks another animal, the owner and dog relocate, or the dog is sold, transferred, or dies
  • Must not debark or surgically silence the dog
  • Must not possess a dog known or reasonably believed to be dangerous
  • Must keep dog current in rabies vaccinations
  • Must sterilize the dog
  • Must post warning signs
  • Must implant dog with microchip

R.C. 955.11 & R.C. 955.22

 
Nuisance, dangerous, and vicious dog determination:
  • Municipal or county court conducts the hearing
  • Dog warden or deputy makes a determination and provides notice to the owner
  • Not later than ten days after receiving notification of the designation, owner may request a hearing regarding the determination
  • Clear and convincing evidence standard
  • The owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog or the person who designated the dog as a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog may appeal the court's final determination as in any other case filed in that court

R.C. 955.222

Euthanasia:
  • Court may order euthanization for a dangerous Dog if an owner commits a violation of division (C) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code that involves a dangerous dog or a violation of division (D)
  • Court may order euthanization for a vicious dog if the owner violates division (C) of section 955.22 with a vicious dog and if the vicious dog causes serious injury to a person
  • Mandatory euthanization for a dangerous dog if an owner violates the dangerous dog debarking prohibition
  • Mandatory euthanization for a Vicious Dog if the owner violates division (C) of section 955.22 with a vicious dog and if the vicious dog kills a person

R.C. 955.222

Penalties:

  • Confinement and control violations for a nuisance dog is a first offense minor misdemeanor; second offense is a fourth degree misdemeanor; third offense requires dangerous dog registration
  • Confinement and control provision violations may require supervision or training for a nuisance dog
  • Confinement and control violations for a dangerous dog is a first offense fourth degree misdemeanor; subsequent offense third degree misdemeanor  Editor's Note: subdivision (D) was found unconstitutional by State v. Mallis, 964 N.E.2d 1096 (Ohio App. 7 Dist. Sep 15, 2011)
  • Confinement and control violations of a dangerous dog may require supervision or training. Editor's Note: subdivision (D) was found unconstitutional by State v. Mallis, 964 N.E.2d 1096 (Ohio App. 7 Dist. Sep 15, 2011)
  • Confinement and control violations for a vicious dog is a fourth degree felony if the dog kills a person
  • Confinement and control violations for a vicious dog is a first degree misdemeanor if dog causes serious injury to a person
  • Failure to register a dangerous dog is a fourth degree misdemeanor
  • Debarking a dangerous dog is a minor misdemeanor
  • Ownership violations of a dangerous dog is a minor misdemeanor
  • Failure to present dangerous dog registration is a minor misdemeanor

R.C. 955.99

 

 
Oklahoma

Potentially dangerous dog definition:

  • Any dog that when unprovoked inflicts bites on a human either on public or private property, or
  • Any dog that when unprovoked attacks a dog which results in the death of said dog either on public or private property;

Dangerous dog definition:

  • Any dog that has inflicted severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property,
  • Any dog that 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
  • Any dog that 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

OK ST T. 4 § 44

Potentially dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • No restrictions listed
  • Potentially dangerous or dangerous dogs may be regulated through local, municipal and county authorities, provided the regulations are not breed specific

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Must register the dog (city or county may charge a registration fee)
  • Must confine the dog in a proper enclosure
  • Must post a warning sign
  • Must obtain liability insurance
  • Must be muzzled and restrained when off the property

OK ST T. 4 § 45 and OK ST T. 4 § 46  

Dangerous dog determination:
None listed

Euthanasia:

None listed

Penalties:

  • Any dangerous dog shall be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority if:
    • The dog is not validly registered;
    • The owner does not secure the liability insurance coverage or surety bond;
    • The dog is not maintained in the proper enclosure; and
    • the dog is outside of the dwelling of the owner, or outside the proper enclosure and not under physical restraint of the responsible person.
  • Misdemeanor, up to 1 year in jail, up to $5,000 in fines, or both for any violation of the laws relating to dangerous dogs
 OK ST T. 4 § 47
Oregon Potentially dangerous dog definition:
  • A dog that without provocation and while not on premises from which the keeper may lawfully exclude others, menaces a person;
  • A dog that without provocation, inflicts physical injury on a person that is less severe than a serious physical injury; or
  • A dog that without provocation and while not on premises from which the keeper may lawfully exclude others, inflicts physical injury on or kills a domestic animal

O.R.S. 609.035

Dangerous dog definition:

  • A dog that without provocation and in an aggressive manner inflicts serious physical injury on a person or kills a person;
  • A dog that acts as a potentially dangerous dog after having previously committed an act as a potentially dangerous dog that resulted in the keeper being found to have violated ORS 609.095; or
  • A dog that is used as a weapon in the commission of a crime

Crime: A person commits the crime of maintaining a dangerous dog if the person is the keeper of a dog and the person, with criminal negligence, fails to prevent the dog from engaging in an act described in the dangerous dog definition

O.R.S. 609.098

 

 

Dangerous dog conditions:

None listed

Dangerous dog determination:

None listed

 Euthanasia: 

  • If the dog is a potentially dangerous dog, the court may order the dog killed in a humane manner
  • If a keeper violates ORS 609.098, the court shall order the dangerous dog killed in a humane manner

O.R.S. 609.990

Penalties:

  • Unless the dog kills a person, violation of ORS 609.098 is a Class A misdemeanor
  • If a dog kills a person, violation of ORS 609.098 is a Class C felony
  • In addition to any fine or sentence imposed under this section, a court may order a person who violates ORS 609.098 to pay restitution for any physical injury, death or property damage caused by the dog as a result of the keeper's violation of ORS 609.098
  • With an exception, if a court has determined under ORS 609.990 that a dog is a potentially dangerous dog, and subsequent to that determination the dog causes physical injury to a person or damage to real or personal property, the keeper of the dog is strictly liable to the injured person or property owner for any economic damages resulting from the injury or property damage

O.R.S. 609.115 and O.R.S. 609.990

 
Pennsylvania

Crime: Harboring a Dangerous Dog 

The owner or keeper of the dog shall be guilty of the summary offense of harboring a dangerous dog if the magisterial district judge finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the following elements of the offense have been proven:

(1) The dog has done any of the following:

  • (i) Inflicted severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property
  • (ii) Killed or inflicted severe injury on a domestic animal, dog or cat without provocation while off the owner's property
  • (iii) Attacked a human being without provocation
  • (iv) Been used in the commission of a crime

(2) The dog has either or both of the following:

  • (i) A history of attacking human beings and/or domestic animals, dogs or cats without provocation
  • (ii) A propensity to attack human beings and/or domestic animals, dogs or cats without provocation. A propensity to attack may be proven by a single incident of the conduct described in paragraph (1)(i), (ii), (iii) or (iv)

(3) The defendant is the owner or keeper of the dog

3 P.S. § 459-502-A

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Must keep the dog properly confined
  • Must leash and muzzle the dog if outside of proper enclosure
  • Must register the dog and pay a registration fee
  • Must post a warning sign
  • Must pay court-ordered restitution to a victim of a dangerous dog
  • Must implant dog with a microchip
  • Must obtain liability insurance
  • Must sterilize the dog
  • Must obtain a surety bond of liability insurance
  • Must notify the proper authorities if the dangerous dog is on the loose, is unconfined, has attacked another animal, has attacked a human being, has died or has been sold or donated
  • New owner or keeper of the dangerous dog shall be required to comply with all of the provisions of this act and regulations pertaining to a dangerous dog

3 P.S. § 459-503-A & 3 P.S. § 459-504-A

 

Dangerous dog determination criminal proceeding:

  • State Dog Warden or Police file complaint before Magisterial District Judge 
  • Beyond a reasonable doubt evidence standard
  • A finding by a magisterial district judge that a person is guilty of harboring a dangerous dog shall constitute a determination that the dog is a dangerous dog for purposes of this act

3 P.S. § 459-502-A

Euthanasia: 

  • Ownership violations mandatory euthanization 
  • Mandatory euthanization for attacks by dangerous dog on a person or domestic animal
  • Mandatory euthanization for attacks by dangerous dog causing severe injury or death to a human

3 P.S. § 459-505-A

Penalties:
  • Ownership violations third degree misdemeanor 
  • Subsequent ownership violations second degree misdemeanor and up to $5,000
  • Impoundment upon subsequent violations of ownership conditions
  • Attacks on persons or domestic animals by dangerous dog is a second degree misdemeanor
  • Dangerous dog impounded for attacking a person or domestic animal
  • Attacks by dangerous dog causing severe injury or death to a human is a first degree misdemeanor
  • Dangerous dog impounded  for attacking a human causing severe injury or death

3 P.S. § 459-505-A

 

Rhode Island

Vicious dog definition:

  • Any dog that, when unprovoked, in a vicious or terrorizing manner, approaches any person in apparent attitude of attack upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds or places;
  • Any dog with a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury, or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals;
  • Any dog that bites, inflicts injury, assaults, or otherwise attacks a human being or domestic animal without provocation on public or private property; or
  • Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or any dog trained for dog fighting
 Gen. Laws, 1956 § 4-13.1-2(6)
Vicious dog ownership conditions:
  • May require liability insurance
  • Must tattoo license number on the dog
  • Must display a sign
  • Must keep dog in a proper enclosure
  • Must notify the proper authorities if a vicious dog is on the loose, is unconfined, has attacked another animal or has attacked a human being, or has died
  • When the dog is off the owner's property, it shall be leashed and/or muzzled
  • When the dog is outdoors on the owner's property, it must be leashed and/or muzzled, or tie-out, or in an enclosed area which prevents its escape
  • Must sterilize the dog
  • If an owner or keeper moves, he or she shall notify the dog officer of the city or town in which he/she resides and the dog officer of the city or town in which he or she is to reside
  • Must leave dog under the care of someone who is over 16 years of age
  • Must not sell or give away the dog

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-13.1-3

Vicious dog determination:
  • Dog Officer or law enforcement empowered to convene a hearing
  • Dog Officer or law enforcement provide the owner with notice about the hearing
  • The hearing shall be held promptly within no less than 5 nor more than 10 days after service of notice
  • Dog determination done by three panelist
  • Owner notified in writing of panel's determination
  • Within 5 days of the determination, the owner can bring a petition in the district court within the judicial district where the dog is owned or kept

Gen. Laws, 1956 § 4-13.1-11

 

Euthanasia:

  • Possible euthanization if owner does not comply with ownership conditions
  • Possible euthanization if owner does not reclaim impounded dog
  • Hearing panel may order euthanization if any dog declared vicious seriously injures a person or kills or seriously injures a domestic animal
  • In the event a dog kills a person, the dog shall be humanely euthanized

Gen. Laws, 1956 § 4-13.1-11(b) and Gen. Laws, 1956 § 4-13.1-9

 

Penalties:

  • $550 in fines for an owner who fails to comply with ownership conditions; $1000 in fines for any subsequent violation
  • $500 fines for killing or wounding an animal; $1,000 fines for subsequent offenses
  • $1,000 fines for killing or seriously injuring a human
  • Impoundment for dangerous dog killing or wounding an animal or human

Gen. Laws, 1956 § 4-13.1-9

 
South Carolina

Dangerous animal definition: 

  • As used in this article "dangerous animal" means an animal of the canine or feline family which the owner knows or reasonably should know has a propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked, cause injury, or otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals;
  • Dangerous animal also means  an animal of the canine or feline family which makes an unprovoked attack that causes bodily injury to a human being and the attack occurs in a place other than the place where the animal is confined; or
  • Dangerous animal also means an animal of the canine or feline family commits unprovoked acts in a place other than the place where the animal is confined and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the animal will attack and cause bodily injury to a human being;
  • Dangerous animal also means an animal of the canine or feline family which is owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of fighting or which is trained for fighting

Code 1976 § 47-3-710

Vicious dog definition:

  • Vicious dog means any dog evidencing an abnormal inclination to attack persons or animals without provocation

Code 1976 § 47-3-10(7)

 

Dangerous animal ownership conditions:
  • Must not go unconfined on the premises

Code 1976 § 47-3-720

  • Must clearly mark the pen or run area contains a dangerous animal
  • Must be safely restrained when permitted off the premises 

Code 1976 § 47-3-730

  • No person may possess with intent to sell, offer for sale, breed, or buy or attempt to buy a known dangerous animal

Code 1976 § 47-3-740

  • Must register dangerous animal with local law enforcement 

Code 1976 § 47-3-760

Vicious dog ownership conditions:

It is unlawful in any county or municipality adopting penalty provisions pursuant to the provisions of this article for any dog or cat owner or other keeper of a dog or cat to keep a vicious or unruly dog unless under restraint by a fence, chain, or other means so that the dog cannot reach persons not on land owned, leased, or controlled by him

Code 1976 § 47-3-50

 

Dangerous animal determination:

  • If a law enforcement agent, animal control officer, or animal control officer under contract with a county or municipal government to provide animal control services has probable cause to believe that a dangerous animal is being harbored or cared for in violation of the act the agent or officer may petition the court having jurisdiction to order the seizure and impoundment of the dangerous animal while the trial is pending

Code 1976  § 47-3-750

Vicious dog determination:

None listed

 

 

Euthanasia:

  • Court may order euthanization for dangerous animal for attacking a human or domestic animal
  • No provision for vicious dog

Code 1976  § 47-3-760

 

Dangerous Animal penalties (none listed for a vicious dog):

  • Dangerous animal impoundment for violating ownership conditions
  • Up to $200 in fines, up to 30 days imprisonment, and a misdemeanor for a dangerous animal unconfined on premises or not safely restrained while off premises or attacks and injures a domestic animal. Up to $1,000 in fines on subsequent offenses
  • First offense misdemeanor, up to $5,000 in fines, and up to 3 years imprisonment for a dangerous animal which attacks and injures a human being, or a person who attempts to sell, offer for sale, breed, or buy or attempt to buy a known dangerous animal; Second or subsequent offense felony, up to $10,000 in fines, and up to 5 years imprisonment
  • A person found guilty of violating this article shall pay all expenses

 Code 1976  § 47-3-750 and Code 1976 § 47-3-760

 
South Dakota

Vicious dog definition

  • Any dog which, when unprovoked, in a vicious or terrorizing manner approaches in apparent attitude of attack, or bites, inflicts injury, assaults or otherwise attacks a human being upon the streets, sidewalks or any public grounds or places; or
  • Any dog which, on private property, when unprovoked, in a vicious or terrifying manner  approaches in apparent attitude of attack, or bites, or inflicts injury, or otherwise attacks a mailman, meter reader, serviceman, journeyman, delivery man, or other employed person who is on private property by reason of permission of the owner or occupant of such property or who is on private property by reason of a course of dealing with the owner of such private property
SDCL § 40-34-14

 

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

None listed

 

 

Dangerous dog determination:

None listed

Euthanasia:

None listed

Penalties

  • Any person owning or keeping a vicious dog as defined in §§ 40-34-13 to 40-34-15, inclusive, has committed a public nuisance and is subject to the provisions of §§ 21-10-5 and 21-10-9

SDCL § 40-34-13

 

 

 

Tennessee

Dangerous dog definition:

  • Any dog that attacks a human and causes death or serious bodily injury may be destroyed upon the order of the judge of the circuit court of the county wherein the attack occurred

T. C. A. § 44-17-120

 

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

No restrictions listed

Hearing for euthanasia: 

  • Orders for euthanasia granted by District Attorney's petition
  • The petition shall name the owner of the dog, and the owner shall be given notice in accordance with Rule 4.01 of the Tennessee rules of civil procedure

T. C. A. § 44-17-120

 
Euthanasia:
  • Any dog that attacks a human and causes death or serious bodily injury may be destroyed upon the order of the judge of the general sessions court of the county wherein the attack occurred
  • Dog shall be destroyed if the owner does not appear in court 5 days after receiving notice

T. C. A. § 44-17-120

Penalties:

No penalties listed

Texas

Dangerous dog definition:

  • A dog that makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own; or
  • A dog that commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own and  those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury to that person

V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code § 822.041

 

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Must register the dog and pay a registration fee
  • Must restrain the dog at all times or keep dog in a proper enclosure
  • Must obtain liability insurance
  • Must comply with applicable municipal ordinances
  • Must keep current on rabies vaccinations
  • Must notify animal control if the owner relocates with the dog
  • Must notify the proper authority if the dangerous dog attacks someone

V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code § 822.042 & V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code § 822.043

Dangerous dog determination:

  • Animal Control investigated upon a person's report
  • Animal Control makes a determination and notifies owner
  • Owner may appeal the determination

V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code § 822.0421

Dangerous dog determination in counties with a population of more than 2,800,000:

  • A person may report to a municipal, justice, or county court
  • The owner of the dog shall deliver the dog to the animal control authority not later than the fifth day after the date on which the owner receives notice that the report has been filed 
  • The court shall determine, after notice and hearing as provided in Section 822.0423, whether the dog is a dangerous dog

V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code § 822.0422

 

Hearing provisions for failing to register, restrain, and obtain liability insurance OR hearing in counties with more than 2,800,000:

  • The hearing must be held not later than the 10th day after the date on which the dog is seized or delivered
  • The court shall give written notice of the time and place of the hearing to the owner of the dog or the person from whom the dog was seized; and the person who made the complaint
  • An owner or person filing the action may appeal the decision of the municipal court, justice court, or county court in the manner provided for the appeal of cases from the municipal, justice, or county court

V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code § 822.0423

 

 Euthanasia: 

  • Court may order euthanization for ownership violations
  • Court may order euthanization for dangerous dog attacking and causing serious bodily injury to a person outside dog's enclosure


V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code § 822.042 and  V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code § 822.044

Penalties:

  • Class C misdemeanor for dangerous dog attacking and causing serious bodily injury to a person outside dog's enclosure
  • Impoundment for ownership violations
  • Class C misdemeanor for violating ownership conditions or failing to deliver dangerous dog to animal control authority; class B misdemeanor for a previous conviction under this section

V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code § 822.044 and V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code § 822.045

 
Utah          
Vermont

Vicious domestic pets or wolf-hybrids definition:

  • When a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid has bitten a person while the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is off the premises of the owner or keeper, and the person bitten requires medical attention for the attack

20 V.S.A. § 3546

 
 

Vicious domestic pets or wolf-hybrids ownership conditions:

  • The municipal officials shall make such order for the protection of persons as the facts and circumstances of the case may require, including, without limitation, that the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is disposed of in a humane way, muzzled, chained, or confined

20 V.S.A. § 3546

Vicious domestic pet or wolf-hybrid determination:
  • A person bitten by a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid and requiring medical attention for the attack may file a written complaint with the legislative body of the municipality
  • Legislative body conducts investigation
  • Owner shall be provided with a written notice of the time, date and place of hearing and the facts of the complaint
  • The order shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.
  • Different rules apply for a rabies suspect
  • Statute procedures may not apply if voters of a municipality have authorized the legislative body of the municipality to regulate domestic pets or wolf-hybrids by ordinance

20 V.S.A. § 3546

Euthanasia:

  • The municipal officials shall make such order for the protection of persons as the facts and circumstances of the case may require, including, without limitation, that the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is disposed of in a humane way, muzzled, chained, or confined

20 V.S.A. § 3546

 

Penalties:

  • A municipal legislative body or an officer designated by the Secretary may impose a civil penalty of up to $500.00 per violation in accordance with the provisions of this section

20 V.S.A. § 3550

 
Virginia

Dangerous dog definition:

  • Means a canine or canine crossbreed that has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person or companion animal that is a dog or cat, or killed a companion animal that is a dog or cat

VA Code Ann.§ 3.2-6540

Vicious dog definition:

  • Means a canine or canine crossbreed that has killed a person, inflicted serious injury to a person, or continued to exhibit the behavior that resulted in a previous finding by a court or, on or before July 1, 2006, by an animal control officer as authorized by ordinance that it is a dangerous dog, provided that its owner has been given notice of that finding

VA Code Ann. § 3.2-6540.1

 

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Register dog for $150, other fees may apply
  • Dog given a tag that declares it dangerous--annually renewed for $85
  • Post proof of registration on Virginia Dangerous Dog registry
  • Owner must be 18 years or older
  • Dog must be current on rabies
  • Dog must be sterilized
  • Dog must be confined in a proper enclosure when on owner's property 
  • Dog must be muzzled and confined until a proper enclosure is constructed
  • Must be  leashed and muzzled when off owner's property
  • Must post signs
  • The owner must notify the local animal control in certain instances
  • Must microchip the dog
  • Must obtain liability insurance or surety bond

 VA Code Ann. § 3.2-6540

Vicious dog ownership conditions:

Euthanasia

 VA Code Ann. § 3.2-6540.1
Dangerous or vicious dog determination:
  • Law officer or Animal Control applies to magistrate to summon owner to a hearing
  • The animal control officer shall confine the animal until such time as evidence shall be heard and a verdict rendered
  • For vicious and dangerous dogs, the commonwealth must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt
  • The procedure for appeal and trial shall be the same as provided by law for misdemeanors

Va. Code Ann. § 3.2–6540 and Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6540.1

Euthanasia:

  • If, after hearing the evidence, the court finds that the animal is a vicious dog, the court shall order the animal euthanized

Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6540.1

 
Penalties:
  • The court, upon finding the animal to be a dangerous or vicious dog, may order the owner, custodian, or harborer thereof to pay restitution for actual damages to any person injured by the animal or whose companion animal was injured or killed by the animal
  • Owner responsible for expenses incurred while caring and providing for the dog
  • Class 2 misdemeanor if dangerous dog attacks or kills dog or cat
  • Class 1 misdemeanor if dangerous dog bites a human or attacks a human causing bodily injury
  • Class 6 felony to an owner or custodian whose willful act or omission in the care, control, or containment of a canine, canine crossbreed, or other animal is so gross,  wanton, and culpable to show reckless disregard to human life
  • Class 1 misdemeanor for failing to comply with ownership conditions

Va.Code Ann. § 3.2–6540 and Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6540.1

Washington

Potentially Dangerous dog definition:

  • Means any dog that when unprovoked inflicts bites on a human or a domestic animal either on public or private property, or
  • Means any dog that when unprovoked chases or approaches a person upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, or
  • Means any dog with a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury, or to cause injury or otherwise to threaten the safety of humans or domestic animals


Dangerous dog definition:

  • Means any dog that inflicts severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property,
  • Means any dog that kills a domestic animal without provocation while the dog is off the owner's property, or
  • Means any dog has been previously found to be potentially dangerous because of injury inflicted on a human, the owner having received notice of such and the dog again aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans

West's RCWA 16.08.070

Potentially dangerous dog ownership conditions:
  • Potentially dangerous dogs shall be regulated only by local, municipal, and county ordinances

West's RCWA 16.08.090

Dangerous dog ownership conditions:

  • Dog must be registered, an annual fee may be charged
  • Dog must be kept in a proper enclosure
  • Owner must post signs
  • Owner must obtain a surety bond or liability insurance
  • If outside the proper enclosure, the dog is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash and under physical restraint of a responsible person

West's RCWA 16.08.080 and West's RCWA 16.08.090

Potentially dangerous dog determination:

  • Potentially dangerous dogs shall be regulated only by local, municipal, and county ordinances

West's RCWA 16.08.090


Dangerous dog determination:

  • Notice procedure according to City or County rules or City or County must serve notice upon the dog owner in person or by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested
  • Owner provided an opportunity to contest determination
  • Final written order provided to the owner
  • If the local jurisdiction has provided for an administrative appeal of the final determination, the owner must follow the appeal procedure set forth by that jurisdiction
  • If the local jurisdiction has not provided for an administrative appeal, the owner may appeal a municipal authority's final determination that the dog is dangerous to the municipal court, and may appeal a county animal control authority's or county sheriff's final determination that the dog is dangerous to the district court 

West's RCWA 16.08.080

 

Euthanasia:

  • Dog will be euthanized after 20 days if no corrections are made to violation of ownership conditions

West's RCWA 16.08.100

 
Penalties:
  • Class C felony when a dangerous dog attacks or bites a person or domestic animal
  • Class C felony when any dog aggressively attacks and causes severe injury or death to a human
  • Gross misdemeanor if owner does not comply with restrictions of owning a dangerous dog

West's RCWA 16.08.100

 

West Virginia  

W. Va. Code, § 19-20-20 & W. Va. Code, § 19-20-21 mention vicious and dangerous dog, but the statutes do not define these terms

 Ownership Conditions:
  • Except as provided in section twenty-one of this article, no person shall own, keep or harbor any dog known by him to be vicious, dangerous, or in the habit of biting or attacking other persons, whether or not such dog wears a tag or muzzle

W. Va. Code, § 19-20-20

  • Any person who keeps a dog which is generally considered to be vicious, for the purpose of protection, shall acquire a special license therefore from the county assessor
  • The assessor shall charge ten dollars for such license. Such license shall be required in addition to the license required under section two of the Act
  • The keeper or owner shall properly secure such dog in such a manner so as to prevent injury to a person who lawfully passes through or enters upon the property of the keeper or owner

W. Va. Code, § 19-20-21 

Dangerous dog determination:

None listed

Euthanasia:

  • Upon satisfactory proof before a circuit court or magistrate that such dog is vicious, dangerous, or in the habit of biting or attacking other persons or other dogs or animals, the judge may authorize the humane officer to cause such dog to be killed

W. Va. Code, § 19-20-20

Penalties:

None listed 

Wisconsin          
Wyoming          
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