Michigan Dog Bite Lawyer

What Happens to Dogs that Attack People In Michigan?

A “dangerous animal” is one that bites, attacks, or causes serious injury or death to a person or another animal. In the eyes of the law, an animal is most often not considered dangerous if it:

  • Attacks a person who is knowingly trespassing on the property of the animal’s owner
  • Attacks a person who provokes or torments the animal
  • Is responding in a manner intended to protect a person who is assaulted while engaged in a lawful activity
  • Is used for human food, fiber, or service, or could otherwise be considered livestock.

Destruction of an Animal or Other Court Orders to Protect the Public

Once a dangerous-animal complaint has been submitted, the court will require the owner to offer reasons why the animal should not be put to death. In the meantime, the animal must be retained (at the owner’s expense) by a boarding kennel, a humane society, veterinarian, or other animal control organization, until a decision is made regarding the animal’s future.

If the animal is designated as dangerous, the owner will be required to take action to protect the public. This may include getting liability insurance coverage, having the animal sterilized and tattooed with a permanent identification number, and limiting the animal to an escape-proof enclosure. The animal may also be terminated. All of these options are to be at the owner’s expense. If the animal is returned to the owner, it will only be after it is verified that the animal has a current rabies vaccination and license.

Michigan Dog Bite Law Offenses and Penalties

When a “dangerous animal” causes the death of a person, the owner will be held responsible and may be guilty of involuntary manslaughter. The court will then determine an appropriate consequence. If the animal causes serious injury other than death, the owner may be determined to be guilty of a felony. In this case, punishment could include:

  • Up to four years in prison
  • A minimum of $2,000 in fines
  • A minimum of 500 community service hours.

If after a prior offense, an animal is reported to have attacked again, the owner could be found guilty of a misdemeanor. They may then be required to:

  • Serve up to 90 days in jail
  • Pay between $250-$500
  • Perform a minimum of 240 community service hours
  • Pay prosecution fees.

To summarize Michigan law, if a dog bites a person or another animal, the dog may be temporarily held by another authority. Following a hearing, the dog may be tattooed, sterilized or destroyed. The owner of the attack dog may be required to post warning signs, install a tall fence, and/or maintain a significant insurance policy for potential damages. They may even have to do community service, pay large fines, or serve jail time, depending on the circumstances of the attack.

Have Questions About A Michigan Dog Bite?

If you have questions about a Michigan dog bite incident, contact The Mike Morse Law Firm today at 855-MIKE-WINS (855-645-3946). There are absolutely no fees until we win for you.