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The topic of vicious dogs in relation to breed specific laws has been source of debate in many communities throughout the U.S. Vicious or dangerous dogs, regardless of their breed, (by our definition) are dogs that without provocation, have attacked or behaved in a terrorizing or dangerous manner. Laws regarding vicious dogs vary by community and can include restrictions on housing, posting of warning signs, muzzles, leash length restrictions, training and sterilization, and additional insurance coverage for liability purposes.
Local courts provide injured parties the opportunity to file for damages and pursue compensation, including veterinary and medical bills, court costs, and other damages if an out-of-court settlement cannot be reached between the parties. Some communities have clauses within their legislation that will also allow a biting dog's owner certain rights if their dog has bitten only once, depending on the severity of the injury and the circumstances involved. However, if a dog bites more than once or the attack is severe, courts may instill harsher penalties that can include ownership restrictions, confiscation and/or mandatory euthanasia of the dog, fines, and imprisonment. The laws in each community and state can vary greatly, so be sure to contact your local government officials to find out the specific dog laws in your area. You may also want to contact your local animal control office for additional resources or information.
Much like when two owners are involved in an automobile accident, it is important when a dog attack (dog/human or dog/dog) occurs to remain calm, gather information and seek medical or veterinary attention as soon as possible.
For more information on State Dog Laws Click here
For a discussion on dog bite laws Click here