Schemery Zicolello

Pennsylvania is home to many dangerous dogs

Dogs are often referred to as man's best friend. However, not every dog is friendly. In fact some dogs can be downright dangerous. If attacked by a dog -- large or small -- people can suffer significant physical and mental damage. In order to prevent dog attacks, a dog's owner needs to keep control over their animal at all times. Without this control, a dog can actually create a dangerous property condition.

In Pennsylvania, dogs that have shown aggression can actually be labeled as dangerous dogs. These dogs are registered with the state and the Department of Agriculture makes that list known to the public. Currently, the Department of Agriculture's list includes more than 700 potentially dangerous dogs in the state of Pennsylvania, however there is some debate about the actual number of dogs on the list.

Dogs are eligible to be labeled as dangerous and registered if a dog attacks another person without provocation while the dog is not on its owner's property and the dog causes serious injury to another or kills another person. If a dog is labeled as dangerous then the dog's owner must adhere to strict requirements in order to keep a dog. These requirements include using a muzzle on the dog whenever the dog is off the owner's property, posting signs about the dangerous animal, paying a $500 annual fee and carrying at least $50,000 in liability insurance.

Under premises liability laws, dog owners are responsible for the injuries that other people suffer because of their dogs. People should understand that they do not need shoulder the financial responsibly if someone else's dog attacked them. By filing a premises liability suit, people may be able to receive compensation for their injuries including for lost wages, medical expenses and any rehabilitative costs.

Source: The Tribune-Democrat, "State IDs dangerous dogs," John Finnerty, Oct. 28, 2013

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