I have had run-ins with dangerous dogs twice in the last year, and am so pleased with the results that I feel compelled to spread the word. If any of you are threatened by a neighbor’s dangerous dog, you do not have to stand meekly by and let your neighbor’s dog control any part of your life. There is a quick, cheap, legal, humane remedy, so read on…
Last summer at my North Carolina home, my neighbor’s Rottweiler threatened me on three occasions. The dog was a large unneutered male about two years old, just coming into its prime. Fortunately, it was a little unsure of itself like a human teenager, so it never bit me. But the owner’s failure to maintain control over the dog, resulting in a serious threat to my life and limb, caused me to call the county animal control department. An officer came out the next day to investigate, after which the Rottweiler was given “dangerous dog” status. The dog disappeared a day or so later and has not been seen since. Problem solved.
Then a couple of weeks ago, in Florida, while walking on the commons to the laundromat, I was attacked by an unneutered juvenile male pit bull dog. When the owner came to the door, the first thing out of his mouth was, “I can’t keep him in the fence!” I phoned the county animal control agency, and the officer came out a day or two later and agreed to designate the animal a dangerous dog. He explained the meaning of the dangerous dog designation to the owner, and the next day the pit bull and its noisy companion small dog were gone. I am so glad that noisy dog and that dangerous dog are gone.
Although dangerous dog statute wording varies from community to community, in general they have all or most of the following (and more) violations and penalties. A dog can be designated a dangerous dog after only a first threat or mild bite. In my cases, both were threats, neither involved bites. An officially-designated dangerous dog is required to (a) be licensed and vaccinated, (b) be properly confined so that it is almost impossible to escape, (c) have permanent identification such as a microchip, (d) be surgically sterilized, and (e) the property housing the dangerous dog must be identified by signs stating “Warning: Dangerous Dog.” BTW, item (b) includes the dog wearing a muzzle whenever it is taken off-property for a walk. Coming into compliance with a dangerous dog designation can cost the owner several hundred dollars, although it is not considered a penalty fine. Follow-on violations resulting in additional penalties can include huge payment for actual damages (i.e., medical), civil fines of up to $500 (big deal), and jail for up to five years.
The important thing to remember is that the dog does not have to bite anyone; it merely has to threaten to do so and then get reported in order for serious consequences to befall the dog and its owner. Those consequences are so serious and expensive that at least two fellows I know of have gotten rid of their dangerous dogs. So, for those of you who eschew owning a large dog, especially a large, unneutered male, take heed, your relief is at hand. Call your county animal control department whenever a neighbor’s dog threatens anyone, regardless of whether it is on its owner’s property or elsewhere. Both of my neighborhoods are quieter and less dangerous now as a result of these wonderful DD laws.