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If your dog, which qualifies as a dangerous dog under the definition of a dangerous dog, has attacked a person or other dog and caused serious injury or death, a court can order the animal to be detained at a veterinary clinic or animal control shelter and set a hearing to determine the truth of the allegations relating to the attack. During the time of such a hearing, the owner will be required to pay the costs of boarding the dangerous animal. If at such a hearing it is found that your dog is in fact a dangerous dog that has caused serious injury or death to a human or another dog your dog can be destroyed, at your expense. If at the hearing it is found that your dog is a dangerous dog, but that it did not cause serious injury or death to another person it will be released to you, but you must either tattoo the dog in a manner identifying it as a dangerous dog, protect the public from your dog by creating the proper enclosure on your property to keep the dog confined, maintain liability insurance that will cover any injuries that may occur to the public, or have the dog sterilized.
You may also be subject to criminal liability if your dangerous dog injures another person. If your dangerous dog kills another human being you will be guilty of involuntary manslaughter, which is a felony. If your animal qualifies as a dangerous dog and causes serious injury to a human being, other than death, you will be guilty of a misdemeanor felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 or both. If your dog, which has previously been found to be a dangerous dog, injures someone, but not seriously you can be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine between $250 and $500, or both. The same misdemeanor penalty can be imposed if you allow your previously determined dangerous dog to run free in public.
You can also be held civilly liable if your dangerous dog bites another person who has not provoked the animal, is not trespassing on your land and is not attacking another person at the time the animal attacked them.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified pet lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local pet attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.