Dogs, dangerous; judicial discretion. (HB655)

Introduced By

Del. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Dangerous dogs; judicial discretion. Provides a court with the authority not to declare a dog to be a dangerous dog for good cause, based on the evidence before it. Currently, a court is required to declare a dog dangerous if there is any bite, attack, or injury to a person, even if the bite, attack, or injury is accidental or negligible. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/08/2008Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/08 083235520
01/08/2008Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources
01/16/2008Reported from Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources (21-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/17/2008Read first time
01/18/2008Read second time and engrossed
01/21/2008Read third time and passed House BLOCK VOTE (96-Y 0-N)
01/21/2008VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (96-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/21/2008Communicated to Senate
01/22/2008Constitutional reading dispensed
01/22/2008Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
01/23/2008Constitutional reading dispensed
01/23/2008Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
02/18/2008Reported from Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources with amendments (15-Y 0-N)
02/19/2008Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/20/2008Read third time
02/20/2008Reading of amendments waived
02/20/2008Committee amendments agreed to
02/20/2008Engrossed by Senate as amended
02/20/2008Passed Senate with amendments (40-Y 0-N)
02/21/2008Placed on Calendar
02/22/2008Passed by for the day
02/25/2008Senate amendments agreed to by House (95-Y 0-N)
02/25/2008VOTE: --- ADOPTION (95-Y 0-N)
02/27/2008Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB655ER)
02/27/2008Signed by Speaker
02/28/2008Signed by President
03/05/2008G Approved by Governor-Chapter 360 (effective 7/1/08)
03/11/2008G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0360)


Cross Creek writes:

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 evidence before it, that the dog is not otherwise dangerous or a threat to the community.

Hello, in the addition to this bill it states "No dog that has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person" is he trying to say it is ok for a dog to attack a person but not a person attack a person? I know one thing for sure, if a dog bites once he will bite again. Are we willing to give an animal a second chance to commit a violent crime? I really don't understand the justification of this bill to be honest. If my either one of my dogs bites someone or causes harm to them I expect for them to be delt with and not gave another chance to hurt any human what so ever! This bill seems to be putting the value of an animal life over the value of a human life. Would we give a human a second chance?

Tim McCormack writes:

@Cross Creek: I think it depends on the circumstances. You're right that most dog bites are from vicious dogs, but if a person is harassing the dog, of *course* it's going to bite. That's why a judgment call is required. Self-defense is as valid for dogs as it is for people. :-P

Gerbera writes:

Agreed, Tim. I think this is a fair law. Currently, we penalize dogs for being (shock!) dogs when taunted or provoked.

signal writes:

Paves the way to use common sense

Angela McCalla writes:

We must use logic and common sense here. If someone comes on my property and harasses me in a way that my dog feels a need to protect me, the dog (nor I) should be punished.

Kathryn Teeter writes:

This law is not just about dogs biting people!!! My dog is now deemed dangerous because she & 3 other dogs killed a cat in our neighborhood. In Franklin County there are no leash laws, so dogs can run free. This would never have happened if she had not been with the other dogs, there are cats that live next door to me she doesn't bother, and she would NEVER harm a person. She might try to lick you! I feel horrible that she killed a neighbor's cat, but the punishment is outrageous. We had to get $100,000 insurance, build a pen, post the property, microchip her, take "MUG" shots, & send $100 to Richmond to have her registered as a dangerous dog. It is not even an option to tie her up, if she is out of the pen or house she is suppose to be muzzled!! The judge DOES need to have the option to decide if the dog is a threat to the community. All the judge needed to do in this case is to say to not let the dogs run loose, so they can be part of a "pack". This law DOES need to be changed and I'm fighting to see that it happens.