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What makes a dog a dangerous dog?

When you think of a dangerous dog, what comes to mind? Is it a dog that barks all the time, one that seems aggressive on a leash or one that has a history of causing harm to other animals or people? Dangerous dogs can be all of these things and more.

The Pennsylvania dog laws state that dangerous dogs are any animals determined to be dangerous under the law's Section 502-A. This section states that a dangerous dog is more specifically one that has attacked a person or pet (a domestic animal) without provocation. After the attack, a judge can charge the owner with harboring a dangerous dog.

A dog becomes a dangerous animal when it attacks without prejudice. It may attack at home or on public property, kill domestic animals, attack people or their pets or have a propensity to attack other living things without provocation. The key factor in the case for the dog's life is whether or not it was provoked when it attacked. If it was provoked, then it may still not be identified as a dangerous animal.

Once a dog is deemed dangerous, the owner must make sure there are warning signs on his or her property and take steps to keep the dog inside the property and confined at all times. The owner must pay for damages or injuries, and the dog must have a microchip implanted permanently. The dog must be spayed or neutered at that point and must be part of an insurance policy in case of future attacks.

Your loved ones are not safe unless a dangerous dog is contained. Do what you can to make sure this never happens to you or others again.

Source: Penn State Law, "What Is a Dangerous Dog?," Brittany A. Baney, accessed Jan. 31, 2018

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