Legislation & Lobbying
Leashed, Muzzled and Outed
Posted Jul 23, 2007 1:06 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Virginia is outing aggressive pets with its new Dangerous Dog Registry.
Dogs get their mug shot on the registry if a judge has determined they attacked once and could do it again, the New York Times reports. Hawaii is considering a similar registry, and counties in Florida and New York already have them.
Pets deemed dangerous in Virginia also must be walked on a short leash while muzzled, and their owners must have liability insurance.
Virginia’s list, modeled after its sex offender registry, is one of the more unusual state efforts designed to stop dangerous dogs from doing harm.
Ohio and several municipalities have banned breeds deemed dangerous, although courts overturned Ohio’s law and some others. A new Texas law imposes a possible 10-year-prison sentence on owners of pets that seriously injure others while unleashed. Thirty-three states hold owners liable for their pets’ attacks.