Minnesota has a lengthy and detailed statute designed to address disputes involving what it describes as “dangerous dogs”. In Minn. Stat. § 347.50(2), a dangerous dog means any dog that, without provocation, inflicts substantial bodily harm on a person on public or private property. Substantial bodily harm is harm caused to a person that results in temporary but substantial disfigurement, among other forms of harm.
Once a dog is designated as dangerous, its owner is faced with either winning an appeal of that designation pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 547.50(c)(1) or facing a litany of regulations. Once a dog has been designated as dangerous, an owner has a host of onerous requirements placed on them if the dog is not going to be destroyed. For example, the dog must be micro chipped Minn. Stat. § 347.515, sterilized at the owner’s expense Minn. Stat. § 347.52(d), and muzzled and on a leash while out of its enclosure Minn. Stat. § 347.52(b), among other requirements. These requirements seem designed to make continued, lawful ownership of the dog impossible.
In light of the above, if the government seeks to have your dog designated as dangerous, it will be important to fight that designation vigorously if you want to maintain any semblance of what might best be described as a normal family dog existence. As soon as the police or local animal control office starts the designation process with you, or sooner if possible, gather all the facts of the case. Take pictures of any physical evidence and gather the names and contact information of any witnesses you can find. Finally, call an attorney with knowledge in this area of the law immediately. The time to file an appeal is an absurdly short, and perhaps unconstitutional, fourteen (14) days.
This article is not a substitute for legal advice in the context of a specific case. Caldecott & Forro, P.L.C provides free initial consultations to clients and potential clients on a variety of civil matters.