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Dangerous Dog Registry – Are you for it or against it?

October 1, 2012 24 comments

Today, I saw an interesting article in the Miami Herald, Miami-Dade could require online “dangerous dog” registry. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet.

Most states already have online registries for sex offenders, and that’s a good thing, but a registry for dangerous dogs? I’m not sure. Maybe for the dangerous dog’s humans? No. That probably isn’t right either.

Part of me thinks it’s a good idea. It puts dog owners on notice that they need to train their dogs, and if their dog is deemed dangerous and attacks again, they can be confiscated. But posting the dog’s picture and owner’s address can also lead to harassment and an increased likelihood that a false report might be filed by neighbors who are now scared of having the dog in their neighborhood.

And, then there was this sentence (found in the article):

Under county law, a dog can be declared dangerous if it attacks another animal or a human without provocation and causes severe injury or death, or if it approaches a human in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack.

I wondered. Who gets to decide if the attack was unprovocated or provocated? Most people don’t know dog body language. They are not likely to recognize a provoked or unprovoked attack because they wouldn’t recognize the signs that a dog is warning them to get away. Who gets to decide if a bite or attack was unprovocated if there is no one around who understands the warning signs?

And, what about breed discrimination? Is that likely to go up in Miami-Dade county if this passes? Will we see more pictures posted of a particular breed leading to people wanting to ban all dogs of this breed? Possibly. The only thing I know for certain is that pitbulls won’t bear the brunt of that discrimination. Pitbulls aren’t allowed in Miami-Dade county. (Oh wait. I guess that means they are already discriminated against.)

Having dealt with our own dangerous dog issue at the dog park recently (thankfully, we never came across the owner or the dog, who have since been banned), I can’t help but think maybe we just need a registry for the really dumb dog owners. The ones who continue to put their dogs in situations in which they are likely to attack again. I know I am being sarcastic, but honestly I don’t know. Maybe having one would be a good thing in some situations.

What do you think? Is a dog registry a good idea or a bad one?

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