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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Appeals court: Dog not dangerous until it bites someone

Two dogs fighting (or playing, it's hard to tell)
Alex Proimos
/
flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A dog in Michigan is not considered legally dangerous until it bites or attacks someone. That’s the word from the state Court of Appeals.

An Eaton County couple was charged with knowingly owning a dangerous animal after their dog got through a fence and attacked a lawn care worker employed by a neighbor. The dog was shot to death by a police officer who said he felt threatened.

There was evidence presented at trial that some neighbors were nervous about the dog, and that it could sometimes behave aggressively, such as attacking a lawnmower and biting the tires.

The lower court allowed the case to go to trial, but the appeals court dismissed it. They said Michigan law plainly states an animal has to have bitten a person before it’s considered dangerous.