Dog ownership is a serious undertaking. Not only must the owner tend to the dog’s physical needs, but he or she must also consider the safety of animals and people around the dog. If a dog injures someone, what happens next?

In Pennsylvania, the Dangerous Dog Act sets forth parameters on how owners handle a dog that poses a threat due to a past incident. Knowing how to handle a dog can help owners and victims proceed with doing what is right before and after an incident.

What is a dangerous dog?

Under the statute, a dog is dangerous if any of the following occur without provocation:

  • Attacked a person
  • Caused the death of another animal
  • Caused great injury to a person at home or in public
  • Was utilized during a crime

One or more of the following parameters must also apply:

  • An inclination to chase or attack humans or other animals
  • A pattern of attacking humans or animals

What steps do dangerous dog owners take?

If a dog meets the above, the owner must register it with the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement annually and pay a $500 fee. The owner must confine the dog to an enclosure that meets guidelines set out in the Act. The dog cannot wander outside the enclosure without a muzzle and leash. The dog must have a microchip. The law also requires the owner to post warning signs to advise visitors of the dog.

Since an owner is responsible financially for repercussions relating to an injury caused by a dog, the Act requires dangerous dog owners to carry a $50,000 liability insurance bond made payable to anyone who the dog attacks.

Most people consider dogs members of the family unit, and in most cases, they do not pose a threat. If a canine attacks and causes injury, knowing what the law requires from the owner as well as a victim’s rights to receive compensation can go a long way on the road to recovery.