Dogs make excellent companions and additions to the family and are one of the most popular domestic animals in the United States. However, certain dogs can be dangerous and sometimes are known to attack, injure, or kill other animals or humans or cause damage to property. Between 1979 and 1994, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 279 human deaths as a result of dog attacks.
In the state of Pennsylvania, the Department of Agriculture maintains a dangerous dog list, which includes any dogs that have been identified as safety threats to other domestic animals, humans or property.
The dog must have been involved in an attack to a human or other domestic animal while not on its owner’s property and without provocation. Dogs are added to the Pennsylvania dangerous dog list after an incident report is filed.
Dealing with the Consequences of Owning a Dangerous Dog
The consequences of owning a dangerous dog include:
- possible criminal charges;
- legal suit;
- restitution payments; and/or
- confiscation of the dog.
In addition, owners of a dog identified and added to the dangerous dog list are required to:
- register the dog each year for a fee of $500;
- ensure the dog is properly restrained at all times and kept confined to the owner’s property;
- leash and muzzle the animal whenever leaving the owner’s property; and
- pay for a microchip implant.
Which breeds are the most dangerous?
While a dog of any breed can be identified as a dangerous animal, and training and treatment of the dog contribute greatly to the temperament and actions of the dog, there are some breeds that have been listed as more typically dangerous than others.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Interaction of Animals in Society conducted a study in 2014 to help determine which breeds were most likely to exhibit dangerous behavior. Some of the characteristics used as criteria in this study included stranger aggression, dog aggression, owner aggression and rivalry with other dogs.
The 15 breeds that scored highest for dangerous behavior likelihood in this study were:
- Bull mastiff;
- Chow chow;
- German Shepherd;
- Giant Schnauzer;
- Jack Russell Terrier;
- Lhasa Apso;
- Miniature Pinscher;
- Old English Sheepdog;
- Pitbull; and
It is important to understand that not all dogs belonging to these breeds are dangerous, and dogs belonging to other breeds can react in dangerous ways to certain situations.
Dogs that are neglected, poorly bred, abused, caged or improperly socialized are more likely to develop aggressive characteristics. In addition, when a dog feels threatened or senses a need to protect its owners, it may display more aggressive behavior than in everyday circumstances. It is important for owners to understand their dogs and train them properly.
Cordisco & Saile LLC Can Help
If you have been injured by a dog or are the owner of a dog that has caused an injury or property damage, Cordisco & Saile LLC can help. Call us today to set up a consultation to discuss your case with an attorney: 215-642-2335.