Virginia's Definition of a "Dangerous Dog"

Virginia state law provides a definition of a “dangerous dog.” Regrettably, the definition does not provide that any breed of dog is automatically deemed dangerous:

“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.)

Read more about Virginia Dog Bite & Animal Attack Laws here


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