Virginia Launches Dangerous Dog Registry Online

Dogs who are declared dangerous after an attack will have their photos and addresses posted online.

Posted: August 11, 2007, 5 a.m. EST

The state of Virginia recently launched a new website that keeps track of dogs who’ve been deemed dangerous by the courts, part of legislation that was prompted by two high-profile attacks where a toddler and an elderly woman were mauled to death.

The legislation passed in 2006 and the public website launched in July 2007, with nine dogs on the list. Additional dogs have been added since its inception. The registry includes a picture of the dog, why the dog has been declared dangerous, the address where the dog resides, and the owner’s name.

“It’s sort of like a sex offender registry,” says Elaine Lidholm, spokeswoman for the state’s Agriculture and Consumer Services division. “The purpose of the registry is that it’s an informational tool for people to use to see if there are any dangerous dogs in the neighborhood — for the sake of people who would be defenseless in an attack.”

The state’s definition of a dangerous dog is one who has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person or companion animal, or killed a companion animal. Some exceptions apply, such as evidence that there was good cause for the attack or if the incident occurred on the owner’s property.

Once animal control officers receive a report of an attack, the courts will decide whether to deem the dog dangerous. If a dog is declared dangerous, the owner must comply with several regulations including sterilization, posting signs on the property that warn of a dangerous dog, muzzling the dog when not on the owner’s property, and retaining $100,000 in liability insurance for each year that the dog is alive.

“We don’t have any opposition to it,” said Daisy Okas, spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club (AKC). “We’re much in favor of initiatives that are specific to dogs rather than those that make assumptions of particular breeds. It’s much better than some of the breed-specific legislation we’ve been seeing.”

Lidholm says she’s been flooded with calls since the registry began. “It’s about half and half,” she explained. “Some people think it’s gone too far and some think it doesn’t go far enough.”

The registry is retroactive, and dogs that were declared dangerous prior to the legislation will be added around October, according to Lidholm.

“It creates a greater awareness that there are consequences for not controlling your dog,” she adds.

To view the dangerous dog registry, click here.


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Tom Doe   Ashburn, VA

11/1/2009 2:01:25 PM

This is a great idea! Now you just need a facebook application so you can check where ever you are. The kids would know what location to stay away from.

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Nicole Hall   St. Paul, VA

8/19/2008 2:04:13 PM

I believe in some cases dog attach is for the best. Like security for my family and home. If someone breaks in and gets bite or if they let the dogs of the chain to gain acess to the home then it should be in consideration when the owners go to court. I have that incident now that i may have to put my dogs down due to neighbors who don't like pit bulls. There family member broke into my house and let the 2 pitbulls off to do so. Then got bite. No witeness and police wont do anything about it. The dogs are there to protect me and my 15 month old son. I've had 1 dog for over 3 yrs and never an attack or close to one. Never a complaint. All over my dog doing what was right. I believe it has went to far. Any dog has it in there nature to attack other dogs expecially when on there property. When a little dog attacks and causes harm i don't see them having to go through with the dangerous dog registry. Why should I? I belive in this situation they should give a warning. The person who broke into my house got attacked by 2 pitbulls didn't have to have not one stich. Now how dangerous do u think they are? Also my female pit is pregnant and may loose her babies due to having to register as a dangerous dog. Now i stand with 2 of my family members i may have to kill to satisfy a person who is against pitbulls due to the media has made them this way. I'm out of $2000 on just what i have in purchasing the dogs and veterinarian bills. My son who bits, hit and lays on the dog is out of his best freind.

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megan   frazeysburg, OH

8/12/2007 3:47:56 PM

thanks for the info

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Cyndi Stone   Klamath Falls, OR

8/11/2007 1:14:02 PM

I think this is a good idea. The dogs aren't being put down. I wish our state would have this law. Our neighborhood has had a dog attacked and killed by another one. The animal control did nothing!

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