What is the definition of a 'dangerous dog' in Virginia?



Q: What is the definition of a ‘dangerous dog’ in Virginia?

A:  Virginia state law provides a definition of a “dangerous dog.”

“Dangerous dog” means a canine or canine crossbreed that has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person or companion animal that is a dog or cat, or killed a companion animal that is a dog or cat. When a dog attacks or bites a companion animal that is a dog or cat, the attacking or biting dog shall not be deemed dangerous

(i) if no serious physical injury as determined by a licensed veterinarian has occurred to the dog or cat as a result of the attack or bite;

(ii) if both animals are owned by the same person;

(iii) if such attack occurs on the property of the attacking or biting dog’s owner or custodian; or

(iv) for other good cause as determined by the court…. No canine or canine crossbreed shall be found to be a dangerous dog solely because it is a particular breed, nor is the ownership of a particular breed of canine or canine crossbreed prohibited.

VA Code Ann. § 3.2-6540

Once determined to be a dangerous dog, the owner has strict requirements to maintain liability insurance and faces liability for any subsequent injury to a person attacked by that dog (with few narrow exceptions such as criminals entering the dogs home.)

personal injury settlementsSettlements & Compensation

Typical damages that Virginia dog bite victims can receive compensation for include: pain and suffering, loss of earnings while unable to work, future loss of earnings if you cannot return to work, disfigurement – if the injury causes scarring or other unsightly marks, plastic surgery, and other medical expenses.

stressWhat We Suggest You Do if You’ve Been Attacked

  1. Seek medical attention. If you’ve been seriously injured, you should contact 911 immediately. Even if your wounds seem small, when bitten by any type of animal you run the risk of contracting rabies or a serious infection and you should consider seeing a medical professional. Having your injuries documented by a medical professional is important evidence for your case.
  2. Report the incident to local animal control, or emergency authorities. It is VERY important to have the incident officially documented and for information to be gathered concerning the dog owner.
  3. Take photos of your injuries. Make sure to take photos of your injuries as soon as you can, as well as pictures of the healing process. This may become important evidence to your case.
  4. Gather information. Make sure that animal control or the police know of anyone that may have witnessed the attack. Have other neighbors had problems with the same dog?
  5. Contact an Experienced Virginia Dog Bite Lawyer. If you were injured in a Virginia dog attack because of someone else’s negligence, you should consider contacting an experienced Virginia dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights.

callVirginia Dog Bite Lawyers at the Serpe Firm

Our Virginia-based personal injury law firm handles dog bite and dog attack cases. Our attorneys know the rules, the regulations, and the laws surrounding dogs and dog attacks, and we know how to fight for you to recover the fair compensation that you may be owed. e.



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