First Bite Results in Conviction of Harboring Dangerous Dog

Posted on: June 29th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

The Commonwealth Court of PA affirmed a Westmoreland County Common Pleas decision affirming a conviction of harboring a dangerous dog.  A woman was walking on the rear section of her property when the defendant’s dog lunged at her, bit her leg & knocked her to the ground. The dog bite victim picked up a pipe and brandished it at the dog to prevent a second attack. Medical care was needed to treat the puncture wounds. The Westmoreland County Dog Warden cited the defendant for harboring a dangerous dog in violation of Section 502-A of the PA Dog Law.

Proof of prior attacks was deemed to be unnecessary. The evidence proved that the dog attacked a human being without provocation resulting in an injury to the victim. Nothing in Section 502-A of the PA Dog Law requires the injury to be severe. The facts of this attack allowed the trial judge to properly deduce that the dog had a propensity to attack human beings. Commonwealth v. Austin, 846 A.2d 798 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2004)