Should a district judge deem a dog dangerous, the owner normally has the ability to keep the canine, but it must be listed on the state Department of Agriculture’s dangerous-dog registry.
A dangerous dog is one that has attacked, inflicted severe injury to or killed a human or domesticated animal without provocation while off an owner’s property, said Samantha Elliott Krepps, spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture. A dog also is considered dangerous in Pennsylvania if it was involved in committing a crime, according to the department.
The state’s dangerous dog act does not apply to police dogs, guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, aide dogs for the handicapped or farm dogs under certain circumstances.
The act also doesn’t apply if a person attacked, provoked the animal or was willfully trespassing or committing another unlawful act under for which a civil lawsuit can be brought, according to the department.
State-wide, there are 552 dogs registered, or pending registration, on the list that was last updated on July 3. And 233 of the dogs, or 42.2 percent are pit bulls or mixed-breed pit bulls.
Combined, there are 62 dangerous dogs on the registry in Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties, and 16 of those are pit bulls.
Should the owner of a dangerous dog not euthanize his or her pet, that individual must pay $500 and any additional administrative costs to register the canine on the list each calendar year for the life of the dog, Krepps said. They also must post a bond of $50,000 or purchase the same amount in liability insurance to pay for future injuries that could be inflicted by the dog, she said.
Dangerous-dog owners must also do the following:
Confine the dog in a proper enclosure.
Post a warning sign with a symbol that warns children of the presence of a dangerous dog.
Keep the dog muzzled and leashed when outside the proper enclosure.
Spay or neuter the dog.
Microchip the dog.
Be compliant with court-ordered restitution.
Agree not to cancel liability insurance during the license period, unless he/she disposes of the dog.
Sign a statement providing that the owner will notify the dog law enforcement office, state dog warden and local police if the dog is loose, attacks a human or an animal, dies or is sold/donated. The new owner of a dangerous dog also must register with the department, Krepps said.