Dangerous Dog Owners: You Could Face Criminal Penalties


Dogs have been America’s most beloved pets for a long time. Some owners even treat them like they are members of the family. However, there are some dog owners who choose dangerous breeds either for home protection or because they want to have the tough image of someone who can control this type of animal.

While owning a dog can be a rewarding experience, there are some risks involved, including dog bites. These can range from minor to serious, and there have even been some deaths recorded. Dog bites also fall under the jurisdiction of many state’s public health and safety departments and because of the possibility of major bodily damage, some dogs are classified as “dangerous dogs.”

What Are Dangerous Dogs?

Typically, a dog is classified as dangerous if they act in a manner that puts people or animals at risk for injury or death. The definition can vary from state to state, but might include the following:

  • The dog has been trained to fight
  • It has a history of biting or attacking people in public
  • It has severely injured or killed another domesticated animal, including livestock, when off the owner’s property
  • Without provocation, the dog has chased or approached people on the street in a menacing or threatening fashion

There are some dog breeds that are considered more dangerous than others, and these may also vary state by state. Some of the dogs that fall onto this list include pit bulls, rottweilers, German shepherds and Dobermans, among others.

How Are Dogs Declared Dangerous?

While some dogs are already considered high risk, most states have a process in place that can declare any dog to be dangerous. Depending on the laws, this might include a criminal, civil, or administrative hearing.

As the dog’s owner, once your pet has been classified as dangerous, there are certain procedures you have to follow. Again, these processes will vary depending on where you live, but you may be required to reduce the chances of your dog injuring another person or animal.

You may be required to register your dog on a dangerous dog registry, you might have to pay fees, keep the animal confined, get it microchipped or tattooed and/or have it muzzled when out in public.

In some states, there is even a mandatory euthanasia statute in place. This means that if you or your dog violates any of the laws or rules put into place, your dog will be put down.

Your Responsibilities as a Dog Owner

As a dog owner, you are responsible for any actions that your dog might be involved in. If your dog causes serious injury or death, you might face criminal charges and/or be expected to pay for any expenses that arise.

Depending on the severity of the dog’s actions and the state laws, it’s possible that you could face jail time or even be convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter. To ensure that you are complying with your state’s laws, you might want to learn more about a dog bite lawyer. They’ll be able to answer any questions you might have.

Dog Safety

A lot of people own dogs because they make such great pets. However, they also come with risks, including the chance that they may bite another person or animal. Any dog can become dangerous, so you need to do what is necessary to keep the public, yourself and your dog safe.

Knowing the laws in your state and city can help with that endeavor. Talking to a professional is the best way to get the information you need to ensure that everyone can live safely with whatever dog you decide to own.

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