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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 12, 2018 12:51 PM
From: Representative Warren Kampf
To: All House members
Subject: Amending Dog Law
In the near future, I will introduce a bill to amend the Dog Law to provide a method to control a dog that causes severe injury to a human for the first time in an unprovoked attack. The current law provides a process for the State dog warden or a police officer to criminally charge the owner of a dog that exhibits bad behavior with a summary offense of harboring a dangerous dog. A magisterial district justice then determines if there is sufficient evidence for a conviction, and if so, the dog’s owner must comply with certain measures to protect the public. The dangerous dog standard of proof can be quite high in a case where a dog has caused a severe injury but otherwise has not exhibited aggressive behavior previously. The need to impose controls on a dog in this particular setting therefore supports the need for creation of new law.

My proposal will permit a person to request that a State dog warden or police officer issue a notice of action to the owner of a dog that causes severe injury for the first time to a human. This notice of action would require the dog owner to comply with safety measures as determined by the warden or officer to protect the public. If the dog owner is found out of compliance with the parameters of a notice of action, a warden or police officer shall charge the owner under the existing dangerous dog procedure. A dog owner could seek review of the notice of action by a district court.

Introduced as HB2169