If you live in Pennsylvania, the state wants you to know about dangerous dogs living in your area.
Making the information about dangerous dogs easily available to the public through a central database is one of the ways that the state tries to protect its citizens. Someone who is on guard and watchful is less likely to fall victim to a sudden dog attack. They're also less likely to make the mistake of trying to befriend the animal if they see it wandering outside its owner's home.
Under the laws of the state, a dog is considered legally dangerous when it has attacked and seriously injured a human being without any kind of provocation. It can also be considered dangerous if it has attacked another domestic animal while wandering outside its owner's property. Dogs who have been used in the commission of a crime may also be considered dangerous.
In other words, a dog won't end up on the list if it was simply protecting its owner or the owner's property. However, a dog that's been trained to attack could end up on the list if its owner orders it to assault someone. In addition, a judge has to sign off on the designation, so owners do have a chance to explain the circumstances to see if an exception is warranted.
Once a dog has been declared legally dangerous, it is registered on the database. Owners are also required to keep their dangerous dogs safely locked away where they can't hurt anyone. If they fail to do so, they can face criminal charges on top of any civil lawsuits brought by dog bite victims.
Currently, there are more than 500 dangerous dogs in the state. While the majority seem to be pit bulls, there are also plenty of Rottweilers, mixed breeds and other types of dogs represented. If there are dogs in your neighborhood, check the list on a regular basis to see if any names have been added. Your safety and the safety of your family could be at stake.
Source: www.agriculture.pa.gov, "Dangerous Dogs," accessed May 17, 2018