There are certain dogs that are classified as vicious or dangerous. As such, depending on the states and cities that those dogs reside, there be additional extra dog laws to govern the safekeeping of their dogs.

These types of laws help provide protection and process for dealing with dogs that may have a history of attacks, or that have previously attacked someone in the neighborhood. 

How is a Dog Declared Dangerous?

A dog is declared dangerous by a judge. Generally, a person who has been injured by the dog will make a formal complaint at the animal control office. An investigator will then investigate the complaint and determine whether it has dangerous propensities, and if so, a court hearing is required. At the hearing, the judge will then give an official ruling stating whether the dog is vicious and whether the dog is allowed to live.

In some jurisdictions, when a person makes a complaint, the court may hold the dog until the hearing date. The idea behind this is to prevent the dog from biting members of the public.

What are Some Common Injuries Associated with Dangerous Dogs?

As with many other animal attack cases, the most common type of injury associated with dangerous dogs is the risk of a bite. Depending on the type of dog involved, as well as the size, weight, and height of the victim, these types of injuries can be serious. Injuries commonly associated with dangerous dogs may include:

  • Lacerations and cuts;
  • Scarring and disfigurement;
  • Nerve damage;
  • Injuries from scratches from the dog;
  • Infection;
  • Exposure to animal-borne disease; and/or
  • Deep puncture wound injuries.

Special care should be taken when considering dangerous dog attacks on children. Due to the shorter height and smaller size of some children, their face, head, and neck can sometimes be more easily exposed to dogs than with other victims. In such cases, serious injuries can occur, including head, neck and spine injuries, damage to the face, and other similar injuries. Some types of dog bites can be stronger than others or more damaging than others, and can differ by breed as well.

In some cases, severe injuries can lead to fatalities, which would then necessitate wrongful death hearings as well. A particularly dangerous situation is where a dog grabs a hold of someone’s throat, which can lead to strangulation or death. Some dangerous dog cases can also involve multiple victims, as well as multiple dogs also.

What Do I Need to Do If My Dog Is Dangerous?

Again, this depends on the state. Most of the time, a judge will have the authority to place restrictions on the ownership of the dog. For example, the judge may require owners to place "Beware of Dog" signs on their property, lock or leash the dog at all time, and buy liability insurance.

For some situations, where the dog causes serious bodily injury or even death, the law may dictate that the vicious dog be euthanized.

What Will Happen If My Dangerous Dog Is Accused of Injuring Someone?

Another hearing will be held, and the likely aftermath is that the judge will order the dog to be euthanized. Further, you may be liable for damages that were caused by the injury or injuries.

In most cases, the damages may attempt to compensate and cover expenses and losses like hospital bills, medical procedures, any property damage, lost wages, and other economic losses. As mentioned, some cases can involve fatalities or deaths. In such cases, wrongful death damages may be issued as well to help cover additional costs associated with the death.

In certain instances, the victim may also be entitled to double or treble damages (two times or three times the amount of the normal damages award). This often happens in cases involving extreme negligence, extreme recklessness, or intentional conduct (such as when a dog owner commands their dog to attack someone). Here, the damages will likely be issued in the form of punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant for their particularly reckless conduct.  

Can I Face Criminal Charges for a Dangerous Dog Incident?

For some states, you may be found guilty of a crime if your dog was found to be at the center of an attack or dog bite case. Depending on the jurisdiction, criminal penalties such as fines, criminal restitution (paying the victim back for losses), and jail time can result.

For misdemeanor dangerous dog cases, the penalties will usually be up to one year in jail. For more serious cases, felony charges can be involved, which would then result in longer sentencing and higher criminal fines. You can read more about it here: Criminal Liability for a Dog Attack

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Dangerous Dog Case?

Dangerous dog or dangerous animal cases can be complex, and may involve additional procedural aspects not found in other types of cases. You may need to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer near you, who will be able to represent you in court and help you lower the charges against you.Your attorney can provide you with the advice and guidance needed for your case.