Dangerous dog

Eighteen Delaware County dogs have been listed on Pennsylvania’s dangerous dog registry, the state Department of Agriculture announced this week.

The registry, which has 641 dogs statewide, lists all dogs in the state that are a proven threat to society. Dogs are placed on the registry after causing harm to a human or a domestic animal without provocation on public or private property, or have been used in the commission of a crime. Additionally, the dog must have a history of attacking without provocation.

This (dangerous dog registry) is a matter of public safety, and an important feature of Pennsylvania’s dog law,” said Shannon Powers, press secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

The pit bull breed dominates the list of the state’s most dangerous dogs. There are more than six times more pit bulls on the list than any other breed.

“There a wide range of breed on the list,” said Powers. “Any breed can end up on that list, particularly if they are not well managed or being mistreated. It’s arguable whether there are breeds more dangerous than others. There’s every type of dogs on the list, from Chihuahuas to Rottweilers to pit bulls.”

Earlier this week, Sen. Tom Killion. R-9 of Middletown, introduced legislation to better protect the public from dogs proven to have caused severe injury to a person or a domestic animal. Killion’s proposed legislation would eliminate the need for a dog to have a “vicious propensity,” eliminating the need to litigate the dog’s personality and temperament.

On the dangerous dog list are 10 American pit bulls, two German Shepherds, a Prese Canario, a mixed breed poodle, a mixed breed Labrador Retriever, a mixed breed Mountain Dog, a Akita and an unknown mixed breed.

If a dog on the state’s dangerous dog list attacks a human or a domestic animal, the owner will be charged with a first- or second-degree misdemeanor and the dog will be euthanized.

Dogs that attack people or domestic animals after being provoked are not automatically listed on the registry. Guide dogs for the blind, aide dogs for the handicapped and hearing dogs for the deaf are not subject to the dangerous dog registry.

Owners of dogs listed on the registry must register them with the bureau of Dog Law Enforcement annually, pay an annual fee of $500. Must be confined to a proper enclosure or be muzzled, and must be spayed, neutered and microchipped. Dog owners on this list must also acquire a liability insurance policy of $50,000 minimum and post a $50,000 surety bond, payable to any person injured by their dog.

Powers said the state dog warden investigates all reports of dog attacks by dangerous dogs listed on the registry. The state’s law on dangerous dogs override all local ordinances relating to dangerous dogs.

Killion’s proposed legislation on dangerous dogs, Senate Bill 798, would require only that victims or authorities prove in court that a dog inflicts serious injury without provocation to secure a conviction. The legislation also would raise annual registration fees for dangerous dogs on the registry to $1,000 annually, from the current $500.

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