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What is a “Dangerous Dog” Under Pennsylvania’s Dangerous Dog Law?

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Act 46 of the “Dangerous Dog Law” in Pennsylvania was enacted to provide greater protection to people attacked by a “dangerous dog.”  A “dangerous dog” is defined as one which has attacked a human being without provocation or killed or inflicted severe injury to a domestic animal without provocation while off an owner’s property. Also, a dog is considered dangerous if it killed or inflicted severe injury to a human, or if it was used in the commission of a crime.

Under Pennsylvania law, the owner of a dog which inflicts severe injury to a person is liable for medical expenses, other losses and damages. It does not matter whether the dog previously attacked a person or not. If there is no a serious injury, the dog owner is still liable to pay for all medical treatment bills.

The act does not apply to police dogs, guide dogs or farm dogs (under most circumstances). The act does not apply where a person attacked or provoked the dog, or was committing a crime such as criminal trespass.

If a dog attacks a person, the injured person, the state dog warden or a police officer may file a complaint with a district justice charging the owner with keeping/harboring a dangerous dog. If the dog is deemed dangerous, the owner must follow certain procedures, such as:

  • register the dog with the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement,
  • confine the dog to a suitable pen/enclosure,
  • post a warning sign,
  • keep the dog muzzled and leased when outside the enclosure,
  • post a bond or maintain liability insurance of $50,000 to pay for injuries inflicted by the dog,
  • provide notice to the Bureau if the dog is loose, attacks a person or animal, is sold or dies.

Dog bites often result in severe injuries such as loss of a limb or disfigurement. In these cases, it is crucial to have the case investigated properly. Doing so reveals all sources of liability, including a landlord or property management company.

If you’d like to have your case reviewed by our Pennsylvania dog bite and animal attack lawyers, call 215.925.4451. Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation.

The personal injury and dog bite lawyers at Schwartz & Blackman handle cases in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area:

  • PA: Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Norristown, Philadelphia
  • NJ: Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Camden, Cherry Hill, New Jersey shore cities

*This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is important to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case.  See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Published: June 27, 2012



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