How Is It Determined Whether My Dog Is A Dangerous Dog?

An animal control officer will investigate your dog if any incident is reported to animal control regarding your dog. As part of this investigation you may be required to give a sworn statement to the animal control officer regarding any information about your dog. Your dog may be detained by animal control once an investigation has started, and if your dog is not detained by animal control you must safely and humanely keep the dog in an enclosed area until the end of the investigation. Animal control has the right to make a determination about whether your dog is classified as dangerous. However, you will have the right to a hearing in front of a judge or hearing officer to determine the validity and truth of the animal control officer's determination that your dog is dangerous. During an investigation or pending hearing about whether a dog is declared dangerous it will be illegal to sell the animal to anyone or relocate the animal somewhere else. Animal control must always be provided the address of where the dog is located throughout the investigation.

There are exceptions to the above. For instance, hunting dogs and dogs that are participating in legal sports are exempt from being found dangerous because of their activities associated with hunting or sports. However, when a hunting dog or sport dog is not being used for activities related to its classification as a hunting dog or sport dog they are held to the same laws as regular domesticated dogs. Also, dogs that have been designated as dangerous cannot be used for hunting purposes.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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