Ohio Supreme Court: Owner of dog with attack history can face criminal charges without ‘dangerous’ designation

Ohio Supreme Court: Owner of dog with attack history can face criminal charges without ‘dangerous’ designation
(Source: pixabay.com)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Ohio Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that an owner of a dog that has a history of being dangerous can be criminally charged.

The court’s decision now allows prosecution to pursue a charge for failing to contain and control a dangerous dog, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, if it’s believed the dog has a threatening history.

“... where the state has probable cause to believe the dog in question is dangerous, based on prior actions of the dog that meet the definition contained in R.C. 955.11(A)(1)(a), the state may initiate prosecution and prove the dog’s dangerousness at trial along with the other elements of the offense.”

The decision stems from a First District Court of Appeals case involving a dog attack at a Cincinnati-area apartment complex.

Watch the May 2019 Ohio Supreme Court’s oral argument of the case:

An official designation of a “dangerous dog” is no longer required before charges are presented, according to the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision.

A 2012 state law required a dog warden to designate a dog as “dangerous” before an owner can be accused of crimes related to handling their pets. Dogs deemed dangerous are required to be leashed or muzzled when not on the owner’s property.

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