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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: June 9, 2017 09:35 AM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Muzzled Dogs

In the near future, I will introduce a bill aimed to address weaknesses in Pennsylvania’s current Dangerous Dog Law.

Pennsylvania’s existing Dangerous Dog Law features loopholes that allow first time offending dogs which have caused severe injury to move on with no restrictions or safety precautions for the public.

This legislation will create a new summary offense which will provide responding officers with a more comprehensive charge, which is easier to prosecute, in order to better protect our communities.

These concerns were recently brought to my attention through the unfortunate experience of a family in my district. A young boy received severe injuries to his face from, what the family said was an unprovoked dog attack. However, loopholes in the current dangerous dog law allowed the court to drop the charges.
The current PA Dangerous Dog Law creates difficulties for victims, whether they are human beings or another person’s animal, in requiring them to prove either a history of attacks or that the animal has a vicious propensity to attack, even in cases where severe injury has been caused.

Under my bill, owners of first time offending dogs which inflict severe injury will have to:
  1. Muzzle and restrain the dog in public places or while guests are invited on the owner’s property--the bill makes it clear that the muzzle will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with the dog’s vision or respiration;
  2. Post signage on property warning visitors of the dog’s presence; and
  3. Pay restitution towards the victim
I hope you will join me in supporting this legislation to better protect our children and communities.

Introduced as SB816