What You Need To Know About Washington DC Dog Laws
Washington DC dog bite laws are put in place to protect citizens from the harm a loose or dangerous dog may cause. Your DC dog bite lawyer should be one that is well versed and experienced in local law pertaining to dog bite and dog attack cases, but absorbing a bit of this knowledge yourself can also help to alleviate the stresses revolving around a dog bite situation.
A Dangerous Dog Versus A Potentially Dangerous Dog
In Washington DC, the dangerous dog statute covers both dangerous dogs and potentially dangerous dogs, with one referring to dogs who have already shown severe dangerous behavior and the other referring to dogs that show a potential to get to the same level but have not yet. While this may seem confusing at first, your DC dog bite lawyer should be knowledgeable of the specific distinction.
A potentially dangerous dog is one that has chased or menaced a person or other domestic animal before but hasn’t yet caused any type of severe injury, they show aggression without provocation in approaching strangers and other domestic animals, and they have been impounded while running at large at least 3 times in the last 12 month period. As you can see, these dogs, while they haven’t caused severe injury yet, have shown tendencies that they may or could in the future.
A dangerous dog is considered to be a dog that has already bitten or attacked another person or domestic animal without provocation, and any dog that has continuously engaged in potentially dangerous dog behaviors while moving toward the extreme.
The Liability And Responsibility Of Dangerous Dog Owners
Those who have been determined to own a dangerous dog have some special responsibilities in place when compared to those who do not. A dangerous dog owner must provide secure confinement of their dog that disallows them from escape, protects strangers and other domestic animals from the dog, and also protects the dog from the elements. When not in this confined space, the dog must be kept securely on a leash no longer than 4 feet and muzzled.
In addition to safe confinement, the owners of the dog must have their dogs registered with local Washington DC authorities as a dangerous dog, along with a microchip that includes all of their owner’s up to date information. On their property where the dog is kept, signage warning others of the presence of a dangerous dog must be readily and easily visible.
If a dangerous dog injures another person or domestic animal, the owner faces not only civil liability but a potential fine of up to $10,000.