There is a very specific Virginia law, Code Section 3.2-6540, that outlines exactly what happens if a dog is declared dangerous.
It’s a laundry list of things, including proper confinement and muzzling, insurance requirements, and a variety of other requirements. Here is a list of some of the mandatory consequences of a dog being deemed dangerous:
- Obtaining a dangerous dog registration certificate from the Animal Services Division, which costs $100.
- Wearing a tag on the dog’s collar at all times, which is provided to you from the Animal Services Division when you receive your certification.
- Your dog must be properly confined on your property (which may require that you get fencing), and muzzled when off of your property.
- Your property must have a sign that signals a presence of a dangerous dog on the premises.
- Your dog has to be permanently identified, generally with a microchip
- You must obtain liability insurance coverage that covers animal bites (of at least $100,000).
- Your dog will be listed on the Dangerous Dog Registry, which must be kept updated with current information.
By working with an animal law attorney, you can determine exactly what you can or cannot do with your dog if your dog is deemed dangerous.
The very important thing to note is that if the dog continues to exhibit any more dangerous behavior, and if it bites again, then Animal Control can pursue a vicious dog proceeding, with the only possible outcome being euthanization. A vicious dog is defined by continued habits of a dangerous dog, inflictions of serious injury to a person (multiple bites, disfigurement, impairment), or killing someone.
If your dog is declared dangerous, be sure to talk with an experienced animal law attorney to determine what you can and cannot do to keep your dog safe and sound.