This is part one of a look at the laws in the Code of Virginia regarding dog bites. Section A defines the terms “dangerous dog” and “vicious dog”.

A dangerous dog is one that has seriously injured a person or dog or cat companion animal. There are a few exceptions that include: both animals are owned by the same person, the attack happened on the dog owner’s property, the attack happened while lawfully hunting, or other good cause that is allowed by a court.

A vicious dog is one that has killed or seriously injured a person or repeated dangerous dog behavior after already being found to be a dangerous dog by a court.

If you, your child or loved one have been bitten or hurt by a dog, such as a Pit Bull, you should call a good Richmond, Virginia dog bite lawyer who knows the law and can help you fight the insurance company for your rights. Call (804) 719-1900 or (804) 905-9743 for a free and confidential consultation.

Code of Virginia

§ 3.2-6540. Control of dangerous or vicious dogs; penalties.

A. As used in this section:

“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 dog shall be found to be a dangerous dog as a result of biting, attacking, or inflicting injury on a dog or cat while engaged with an owner or custodian as part of lawful hunting or participating in an organized, lawful dog handling event. No dog that has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person shall be found to be a dangerous dog if the court determines, based on the totality of the evidence before it, that the dog is not dangerous or a threat to the community.

“Vicious dog” means a canine or canine crossbreed that has: (i) killed a person; (ii) inflicted serious injury to a person, including multiple bites, serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health, or serious impairment of a bodily function; or (iii) continued to exhibit the behavior that resulted in a previous finding by a court or, on or before July 1, 2006, by an animal control officer as authorized by ordinance, that it is a dangerous dog, provided that its owner has been given notice of that finding.

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