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Defining Dangerous Dogs (and Owner Responsibility)

Many people consider their dogs to not only be pets and faithful companions, but also true extensions of the family. This is a helpful way to view your legal responsibility for your dog’s actions as, in the eyes of the law, a dog is very much an extension of your own personal liability. As a dog owner, you are legally responsible for the things your pet does. Therefore, if you have a dangerous dog, you can be held accountable for any injuries or damage it causes to others.

Dangerous dogs are those that have demonstrated violent tendencies toward people or other animals. Dogs that have attacked humans or other domestic animals may be considered dangerous, if those attacks were unprovoked by the victim. In the case of an attack on another domestic animal, the dog will only typically be considered dangerous if the attack took place outside of the owner’s property. However, the same does not necessarily apply to attacks on human beings.

If you own a dangerous dog, you may be required by the state to engage in special actions to prevent future attacks, such as demonstrating to the court that you have an enclosure capable of confining the pet, spaying or neutering the animal, having a microchip implanted that identifies the dog as dangerous or taking out an insurance policy on the dog. In some cases, owners may be required by the court to relinquish the dog entirely.

It’s important to err on the side of caution and remain informed of the legal rights and obligations that come with pet ownership. If you need clarity on these issues, speak with a personal injury attorney in Lancaster County.

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