Two ‘Dangerous Dog’ Law Facts Pet Parents Need To Know

Here's what to know about laws concerning how, when, and why dogs may be considered 'dangerous' under the law.

Here are some useful dog law reminders.
SeaRick1 / Shutterstock

Here's what to know about laws concerning how, when, and why dogs may be considered 'dangerous' under the law.

Each state in the US has different dangerous dog laws, which are meant to define what happens when a dog is seen as a threat or danger to humans or other animals. Pet parents must be aware of dangerous dog laws to protect their fur babies from unfair treatment.

Bailey, an American Bulldog, was put on Lincoln’s dangerous dog list after an altercation with 1-year-old yellow Labrador named Maggie. As per the Journal Star, Bailey, whose pet parents are Ed and Karen Lazaro, was let out to relieve himself on March 5, 2017. Bailey was not leashed, and neither of his parents was nearby. Enter Maggie who was being walked by a woman. Maggie went to greet Bailey which ended in a fight between the 7-year-old bulldog and the 1-year-old Lab.

In a veterinarian visit after the altercation, Maggie was found to have a 1-inch scratch behind her ear. Bailey had already been declared a “potentially dangerous dog” in 2011, when she got into an incident with an unleashed dog at the city park.

The incident with Maggie gave Bailey two strikes. As such, the American Bulldog was listed as a “dangerous dog.” If Bailey were to incur a third strike she could be in danger of euthanization if found outside unleashed or without a muzzle. The Lazaros tried to appeal Animal Control’s dangerous dog label on Bailey and lost.

To prevent Bailey’s fate, pet parents must be aware of two basic facts.

First, there is no federal dangerous dog law in the United States. As a result, dangerous dog laws and their procedures vary from state to state, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF.) To prevent a situation like Bailey’s, pet parents must know the dangerous dog laws that apply to their jurisdictions.

If a dog were accused of attacking another animal or human, then the guardian of the animal must prove to the court that his/her dog is not dangerous by providing evidence. In this case, it can be said that an accused dog is guilty until proven innocent. Given this information, it would be best to avoid being accused which is why fact number two is significant.

Second, pet parents must train and socialize their fur babies. A trained dog is less likely to act out in public. A well-socialized dog will know how to approach other animals and unknown humans positively, reducing the chances of an incident like Bailey’s from occurring.