A dog may be classified as a dangerous dog if they have ever attacked or caused any harm or injury to another person or animal without warrant. In addition, a dog may even be labeled dangerous if there is behavior exhibited that suggests the risk or probability of a future attack is high. Each state in the U.S. utilizes different classifications to determine whether a dog is deemed to be dangerous, as well as having different sets of regulations in these cases that must be followed by dog owners. Once a dog has been deemed dangerous, owners are often required to meet certain criteria to include muzzling, spay or neutering, and may also require evaluation by a certified behavioral expert. Owners may also be required to maintain supervision of the dog by someone eighteen years of age or older when the dog is in public. In some instances humane confinement may also be deemed necessary. Humane confinement requires providing shelter for a dog that consists of an incased concrete slab with a six-foot fence and roof that prevents the dog from ever having a chance to escape. These regulations often make it very difficult for the owner, which may lead to the surrendering of the dog.
It is incredibly important to note that each dog needs to be individually evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Each and every case is different, as well as the circumstances behind what may have caused the dogs aggressive behavior. It is not one particular type or breed of dog that should be viewed as dangerous. Ask any employee who works out in the field and they will testify they are attacked or experience aggressive behavior by a wide variety of dog breeds. When dog attacks become prominent stories in the news, breed specific laws are often brought up to help build a case that such laws can help lower the instance and severity of dog attacks. However, one of the issues with breed specific laws is that they often only target three or four breeds, thus giving the public an impression that other breeds are “safe.” Addressing one breed does not eliminate the problem, as it gives the public a false sense of security. This is why it is critical to evaluate each case and circumstance separately. By doing so, the process ensures the individual dog’s history and behavior are considered, rather than simply judging the breed of the dog.
Written By: Ashley Klawitter & Mitzi Robinson