Dangerous Dog Charges in Michigan
If the police show up at your house and claim your dog bit someone, this is what you need to know.
You are home one day, and there is a knock on the door. On your doorstep is a police officer that says he is there investigating a claim that your dog bit someone. This encounter could have severe consequences unless appropriately handled, such as your dog can be taken into custody and possibly euthanized. The police can also charge you with a dangerous dog felony or misdemeanor charge. So, it is important that you remain calm and follow these simple steps:
- Do not let the police officers into your home, unless they show you a search warrant. Police officers may enter without a warrant if they believe there is a life-threatening situation.
- Do not talk to the police officers in an open doorway. Instead, step outside and close the door behind you. Anything the police see in plain sight can be enough for them to get a warrant or even make an arrest.
- Do not answer any questions beyond identifying yourself to the officer. The best response is no response.
- Get the name and badge number of each officer involved. Also, ask which agency they are with. If there are other individuals present, get their names and the organization they are with as well.
- Be aware that Animal Control is law enforcement, has legal authority, and must follow the same requirements as a police officer.
- If law enforcement pressures you, which is becoming more and more prevalent, tell them you are not answering any more questions until you have talked to your lawyer.
- Call a competent criminal lawyer immediately. Do not think that you have a simple case and will win by representing yourself or with an inferior lawyer. Your freedom and criminal record, not to mention your pet, are at stake and the last thing you want to do is take chances with such an attorney.
Dangerous Dog Charges and Penalties
Although these offenses are most commonly referred to as “dangerous dog laws,” they apply to any type of animal. Also, the law covers any attack by a dangerous animal, it does not require a bite. The offense could be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the seriousness of any injury.
- Dangerous Animal Causing Minor Injury – Misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days jail, 2 years on probation, a fine of between $250 and $500, and up to 240 hours of community service.
- Dangerous Animal Causing Serious Injury – Felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison, 5 years on probation, a fine of $2,000, and up to 500 hours of community service.
- Dangerous Animal Causing Death – Felony, up to 15 yrs. in prison, a fine up to $7,500.
- Allowing a Previously Adjudicated Dangerous Animal to Run or Roam Free – Misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days jail, 2 years on probation, a fine of between $250 and $500, and up to 240 hours of community service.
Anyone convicted of any of these offenses may be required to reimburse the government for the cost of prosecution.
Attorneys Representing Clients on Dangerous Dog or Animal Bite Charges
A claim of a dog or animal attack or bite can be a death sentence for your dog. It can also result in criminal charges being brought against you. Whether or not the bite happened, there is a lot at stake. It is extremely important that you have highly trained and experienced attorneys represent you. Michigan has strict liability laws for dog bites – this means that in most circumstances your dog does not get the benefit of the doubt. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are dog people and understand the affection that people hold for their best friend. Our attorneys fight to win and will do everything in their power to make sure that your four-legged family member gets a fair hearing.
If the result of the dog bite is criminal charges being brought against you, our attorneys have decades of experience handling all types of criminal offenses. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have won multiple awards and are well respected by prosecutors and judges. When our attorneys enter a courtroom judges and prosecutors know that we are there to fight and win. We have a reputation for success and are passionate to give you the very best defense available.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.