The Pennsylvania dog laws are not entirely clear to me.
Just down the block, a home owner with 2 dogs had two 8 foot sections of their fence blown down late last fall. In place of the missing sections, a roll of thin wire mesh was rolled out to cover the span. This mesh is not secured on either end only being held up by a couple of small stacks of fire wood and only approximately 2 1/2 - 3 feet tall (the height of the dog standing). Of the two dogs, one is a pit bull and both charge the fence very aggressively barking, growling, baring their teeth. Neither dog are otherwise secured or on a leash and often allowed to roam the back yard at will even without supervision. The owner finds the aggression funny even in the face of the obvious terror of pedestrians walking along the street.
The Pennsylvania Law:
3 P.S. Section 459-305
It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper of any dog to fail to keep at all times such dog either:
- confined within the premises of the owner, 2. firmly secured by a means of collar and chain or other device so that it cannot stray beyond the premises on which it is secured, or
- under the reasonable control of some person, or when engaged in lawful hunting, expedition or field training.
3 P.S. Section 459 (Definition of a dangerous dog.)
- the dog has injured a person, without provocation, on public or private property,
- the dog has killed or injured a domestic animal without provocation, while off the owner's property,
- the dog has attacked a human being without provocation, or
- the dog was used to commit a crime.
Where it seems there are holes in the law:
2. firmly secured by a means of collar and chain or other device so that it cannot stray beyond the premises on which it is secured, or
It seems clear to me that the unsecured wire roll does not comply with other device so that it cannot stray beyond the premises, however, the homeowner claims the dogs do not go past the wire. How are they to know? Is it not a matter of time? How would the law see this?
The definition of a dangerous dog requires an attack, kill, or injury. It seems to me any dog that has a consistent history of making a credible or reasonable threat of attack or injury without control of the owner either by confinement or leash is also dangerous. I see it as akin to a drunk driver that has not crashed yet. The drunk driver is still a danger.
My questions are, given the scenario, is it at least reasonable to consider the unsecured wire roll regardless of the claim of the owner inadequate? And what recourse would an ordinary pedestrian walking down the street have?
As well, are there other statutes that govern nuisance dogs, confinement, and otherwise protects a pedestrian from fear of threat from a dog?
I previously lived in a city where you could not walk more than a couple of blocks without being attacked by one ore more pitbulls or rotweilers off the leash and not confined purchased and trained with the expressed purpose of being a weapon.
I have been attacked several times with injuries throughout my life.
I have had to shoot and kill one dangerous dog after police refused to enforce the law. (The police did not go into my neighborhood. Oddly, it was a middle-class development that went rogue.)
I like dogs. I have had them in my life since high school. I hate having to confront irresponsible dog owners since all (so far) have proven to be unreasonable. I do not like being attacked even if no actual contact is made. (We are talking about just inches and not feet.) And I hate the thought of having to protect myself from a dog with a gun.
Hell's bells! I live in a small town in the mountains of Pennsylvania. This should not be an issue. This is a very relaxed environment. However, relaxed also means that the local police may not respond to a complaint unless forced to legally. Often, this is because the police are so busy chasing down drug offenses, they opt not to enforce quality of life issues such as this one. Even when the police chief is a personal friend. Cripes!
All I want to do is force the home owner to replace the fence lawfully and without delay using the resources available. Nothing more.
I have been around and around on this. Any clarity would help. Cheers!!