How is a Dog Deemed “Dangerous” in Pennsylvania?

Categories: Dog Bites

dangerous dog

Pennsylvania has strict laws regarding dogs and previous attacks. Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Dog Law, a dog may be classified as a “dangerous dog” if it has a charge and subsequent conviction of Section 502-A. The law itself has strict rules and requirements for dogs, as well as provisions which allow a dog to be deemed dangerous.

What is a Dangerous Dog?

Pursuant to sections 503-A(b) and (c), 506-A and 902 of the Dog Law, there are several policies and procedures which help establish if a dog is a threat to society. Under the law, a dangerous dog is defined as a dog that is determined to be a dangerous dog under section 502-A. According to this section, when any individual who has been attacked by one or more dogs, the local police can file a complaint before a district judge charging the owner or keeper of that dog with harboring a dangerous dog. The owner of the dog will be found guilty if the judge finds that:

  1. The dog inflicted severe injury on another human being without any provocation (on public or private property).
  2. The dog killed or inflicted serious injury on another domestic animal without provocation
  3. The dog attacked a human without provocation
  4. The dog was used in the commission of a crime

Also, the dog must have:

  1. A history of attacking humans or animals – including other dogs and cats – without provocation
  2. A propensity to attack humans or domestic animals proven by an incident
  3. Its owner as the defendant of the case

If a judge does find a person guilty of a dangerous dog, then the dog is classified as a “dangerous dog” as part of the statute. Once the dog has been deemed dangerous, the Certification of Registration under 502-A is effective. The owner is required to keep this certificate of registration, and he or she has 30 days to comply.

What Happens When a Dog is Deemed Dangerous?

Once a dog has been registered as dangerous, the owner or keeper of the convicted dog will:

  1. Present evidence that he or she has properly enclosed the dog.
  2. Posted a sign on the premises stating that he or she has a dangerous dog.
  3. Pay all court-ordered restitution to the victim of the dangerous dog.
  4. Permanently identify the dangerous dog by having a microchip implanted.
  5. Have the dog spayed or neutered.
  6. Obtain a bond in the amount of $50,000 by an insurer payable to the individual injured by the dog, or get a policy of liability insurance – such as homeowner’s or renter’s insurance – issued by an insurer who is authorized to do business with the Commonwealth in at least $50,000.

What Happens if You Are Attacked by a Dangerous Dog?

If you are attacked by a dangerous dog, the owner can be held liable for your injuries and damages. Pennsylvania law allows you to file a lawsuit against the owner, especially because he or she was aware that the dog was a risk for other human beings, and allowed it to attack you. To explore your options for compensation, contact Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. today. He can assist you with filing your claim against the owner. Schedule a consultation now by contacting him on his cell at 215-771-0430, or fill out our online contact form with your dog bite questions.