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District of Columbia

District of Columbia Official Code 2001 Edition. Division I. Government of District. Title 8. Environmental and Animal Control and Protection. Subtitle E. Animal Control and Protection. Chapter 18. Animal Control.

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: DC ST 8-1801 - 1813; 8-1821.01- .02; 8-1831.01; 8-1841.01 - .09; 8-1901 - 1908

Citation: DC CODE 8-1801 - 1813; 8-1821.01- .02; 8-1831.01; 8-1841.01 - .09; 8-1901 - 1908


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 11/2013

Summary:  

These District of Columbia statutes make up the dog laws for the District.  Included among the provisions are definitions, animal control and at large provisions, and vaccinations/licensing regulations.  With regard to dangerous dogs, the term "dangerous animal" means an animal that because of specific training or demonstrated behavior threatens the health or safety of the public.  The Mayor may impound any animal at large or any dangerous animal.  If a dog injures a person while at large, lack of knowledge of the dog's vicious propensity standing alone shall not absolve the owner from a finding of negligence.



Statute in Full:

Chapter 18. Animal Control.

§ 8-1801. Definitions.

§ 8-1802. Animal Control Agency.

§ 8-1803. Vaccinations.

§ 8-1804. Licenses and fees.

§ 8-1805. Impoundment.

§ 8-1806. Release to owner.

§ 8-1807. Adoption.

§ 8-1808. Prohibited conduct.

§ 8-1808.01. Dog parks.

§ 8-1809. Animal hobby permit.

§ 8-1810. Education and incentive program.

§ 8-1811. Penalty.

§ 8-1812. Civil liability.

§ 8-1813. Notice of violation.

Subchapter II. Commercial Licensing Requirement.

§ 8–1821.01. Commercial Animal Breeder License. 

§ 8–1821.02. Commercial Pet Care Facilities; Rulemaking.

Subchapter III. Release of Animals.

§ 8–1831.01. Release of Animals.

Subchapter IV. Commercial Guard Dogs.

§ 8-1841.01. Definitions.

§ 8-1841.02. License; immunizations.

§ 8-1841.03. Health.

§ 8-1841.04. Insurance requirements.

§ 8-1841.05. Notification requirements.

§ 8-1841.06. Signage.

§ 8-1841.07. Care of animal.

§ 8-1841.08. Violation and penalty.

§ 8-1841.09. Rules.

Chapter 19. Dangerous Dogs.

§ 8-1901. Definitions.

§ 8-1902. Determination of a dangerous dog.

§ 8-1903. Consequences of a dangerous dog determination.

§ 8-1904. Dangerous dog registration requirements.

§ 8-1905. Dangerous dog and potentially dangerous dog owner responsibilities.

§ 8-1906. Penalties.

§ 8-1907. Annual dangerous dog licensing drive; educational program.

§ 8-1908. Rules.

 

 

§ 8-1801. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter:
(1)(A) The term “animal at large” means any animal found off the premises of its owner and neither leashed nor otherwise under the immediate control of a person capable of physically restraining it.
 
(B) The term “at large” does not include a dog in a dog park that is under the verbal command of a responsible adult.
 
(2) The term “animal shelter” means a District of Columbia government facility used by the Animal Care and Control Agency for the care and detention of animals.
 
(3) The term “dangerous animal” means an animal that because of specific training or demonstrated behavior threatens the health or safety of the public. The term “dangerous animal” does not include a dangerous dog as defined in § 8-1901(1).
 
(3A) The term “District-owned parkland” means outdoor property within the possession and control of the government of the District of Columbia.
 
(3B) The term “dog park” means an officially established off-leash dog exercise area on District-owned or federal parkland.
 
(4) The term “Mayor” means the Mayor of the District of Columbia or his designee.
 
(5) The term “owner” means a person in the District of Columbia who purchases or keeps an animal in temporary or permanent custody except as provided in § 8-1804.
 
(6) The term “vaccinated” means protected by a documented inoculation that the Mayor, consistent with the practices of veterinary medicine, determines is currently effective.
 
CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 2, 26 DCR 765; Oct. 18, 1988, D.C. Law 7-176, § 9(a), 35 DCR 4787; Dec. 10, 2005, D.C. Law 16-40, § 2(a), 52 DCR 9087; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 104(a), 55 DCR 9186.)
 

§ 8-1802. Animal Control Agency.

Sec. 9073. Animal Control License Fees Fund.

(a) The Mayor may contract, either by negotiation or competitive bid, with a District of Columbia humane organization to serve as the Animal Care and Control Agency. The Mayor may delegate all or part of his authority under this chapter, including the issuance of notices of violations, to the Animal Care and Control Agency; provided, that only a sworn member of the Metropolitan Police Department may serve a notice of violation with respect to § 8-1808(a) outside the premises of the animal shelter.
 
(b) The Animal Care and Control Agency shall:
 
(1) Deliver all fees collected under this subchapter to the Mayor;
 
(2) Allow the Mayor or the Mayor's designee to inspect the Animal Care and Control Agency to determine compliance with District laws, regulations, policies, and contractual obligations;
 
(3) Ensure that all contractually required records are accurate, easily accessible, and available at all times;
 
(4) Immediately inform the Mayor or the Mayor's designee of any significant changes in its operations or leadership.
 
(c) The Animal Care and Control Agency shall promote:
 
(1) The reduction of euthanasia of animals for which medical treatment or adoption is possible; and
 
(2) The utilization of trap, spay or neuter, and return practices as a means of controlling the feral cat population; provided, that all efforts shall be made to adopt out a trapped, tamable kitten.
 
Credits
 
(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 3, 26 DCR 765; Sept. 16, 1980, D.C. Law 3-97, § 2(a), 27 DCR 3523; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 104(b), 55 DCR 9186.)
 

§ 8-1803. Vaccinations.

(a) An owner who has a dog over the age of 4 months shall have the dog vaccinated against rabies and distemper. Pursuant to rules issued by the Mayor, an owner of a cat over the age of 4 months shall have that cat vaccinated against rabies.

(b) The Mayor shall provide a free anti-rabies vaccination clinic annually.

CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 4, 26 DCR 765; Mar. 10, 1983, D.C. Law 4-199, § 4(a), 30 DCR 119.)

 

§ 8-1804. Licenses and fees- Amended in 2012

 

<< DC CODE § 81804 >>

(a) For purposes of this section, “owner” shall not include:

(1) A licensed veterinary hospital;

(2) A licensed pet shop; and
 
(3) An incorporated animal welfare agency not engaged in the sale of animals.
 
(b) An owner who has a dog over the age of 4 months shall before July 1st of each year, or within 10 days of acquiring the dog, or within 10 days after the dog becomes 4 months of age, obtain an annual license. An owner shall ensure that his dog wears a collar and a license.
(c) Before any annual license may be issued, the owner of the dog shall have the dog vaccinated against rabies and distemper, and shall pay any outstanding fines.
 
(d) Repealed.
 
(e) The annual license fees for dogs is as follows:
 
(1) No fee for a dog trained as a service animal and actually used for the purpose of assisting a person with a physical or sensory impairment, such as a vision or hearing impairment;
 
(2) $15 for a male or female dog certified by a licensed veterinarian as neutered or spayed or certified as incapable of enduring spaying or neutering; and
 
“(3) $50 for all other dogs.”.
 
(e-1) All the fees collected pursuant to subsection (e) of this section shall be deposited in the General Fund of the District of Columbia
 
(f) The Mayor may periodically revise the schedule of fees by rulemaking.
 
(g) No license may be transferred from 1 dog to another.
 
(h) Any license issued pursuant to this section may be issued by the Department of Health or by a veterinarian licensed in the District of Columbia pursuant to § 3-512.02. A veterinarian may collect an additional $2 for each license issued as reimbursement for administrative costs.
 
(i) Repealed.
FORMER TEXT for subsection i
 
(1) There is established as a nonlapsing fund the Animal Control License Fees Fund(“Fund”), which shall be a segregated account within the General Fund of the District of Columbia and shall be used solely for the purpose of providing animal control and animal disease prevention services.
 
(2) The fund shall be administered by the Department of Health.

(3) The Mayor shall deposit in the Fund:
(A) Except as provided in subsection (j) of this section, all revenues generated pursuant to subsection (e) of this section; and
 
(B) All funds contained within the Animal Control Dog License Fees Fund within the Department of Health.
 
(4) Funds deposited in the Fund, and any interest earned on those funds, shall not revert to the unrestricted fund balance of the General Fund of the District of Columbia at the end of a fiscal year or at any other time, but shall be continually available for the uses and purposes set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection without regard to fiscal year limitation, subject to authorization by Congress.
 
(j)(1) There is established as a nonlapsing fund the Sterilization Fund (“Fund”), which shall be used solely for the purposes set forth in this subsection.
 
(2) Deposits into the Fund shall include:
 
(A) Two dollars from each fee paid for the application, issuance, or renewal of a dog license;
 
(B) Funds authorized by an act of Congress, a reprogramming, or an intra-District transfer to be deposited into the Fund;
 
(C) Any other monies designated by law or regulation to be deposited into the Fund;

(D) Interest on money deposited in the Fund.
(3) All funds deposited into the Fund, and any interest earned on those funds, shall not revert to the unrestricted fund balance of the General Fund of the District of Columbia at the end of a fiscal year, or at any other time, but shall be continually available for the uses and purposes set forth in subsection (d) of this section without regard to fiscal year limitation, subject to authorization by Congress.
(4)(A) Monies in the Fund shall be used to subsidize sterilization of cats and dogs owned by persons within the District of Columbia.
 
(B) The Mayor may issue grants to appropriate animal welfare organizations that are experienced in subsidized sterilization efforts.
 
CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 5, 26 DCR 765; Mar. 17, 1993, D.C. Law 9-236, § 2(a), 40 DCR 614; Sept. 26, 1995, D.C. Law 11-52, § 101, 42 DCR 3684; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2004, 46 DCR 3142; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 30, 53 DCR 6198; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 104(c), 55 DCR 9186; Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 9073, 58 DCR 6226; Sept. 20, 2012, D.C. Law 19-168, § 8005, 59 DCR 8025; Sept. 26, 2012, D.C. Law 19-171, § 64, 59 DCR 6190.)

§ 8-1805. Impoundment.

(a) The Mayor shall impound any dogs, cats, rabbits, or ferrets, the combination of which exceeds 4 animals, or any dogs, cats, rabbits, or ferrets beyond the number authorized in an animal hobby permit issued pursuant to § 8-1809.
 
(b) Upon impounding an animal, the Mayor shall make a prompt and reasonable attempt to locate and notify the owner of the impounded animal, including scanning the animal for a microchip.
 
(c) The Mayor may dispose of any wild, sick, or badly injured animal upon its impoundment.
 
(d) The Mayor shall provide appropriate vaccinations for each animal upon its impoundment.
 
(e) The Mayor shall provide appropriate veterinary services for each dog wearing a valid license upon its impoundment.
 
(f) The Mayor shall deem abandoned any animal impounded and not redeemed by its owner within 7 days of impoundment if such animal is wearing identification. If notice is given under subsection (b) of this section, the owner has 7 days from the date of the notice to claim the animal. Any animal impounded not wearing identification shall be deemed abandoned if not redeemed by its owner within 5 days of impoundment. An animal deemed abandoned shall become the property of the District of Columbia and may be adopted or disposed of in a humane manner.
 
(g) The Mayor shall not release an animal unless it is vaccinated against rabies.
 
(h) The Mayor shall not release a sick or dangerous animal to anyone other than a licensed veterinarian until reasonably satisfied that it is safe to do so.
 
(i) The Mayor shall adopt rules for disposing of animals impounded under this section in accordance with § 2-505.
 
CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 6, 26 DCR 765; Sept. 16, 1980, D.C. Law 3-97, § 2(b), 27 DCR 3523; Mar. 17, 1993, D.C. Law 9-236, § 2(b), 40 DCR 614; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 104(d), 55 DCR 9186.)

 

§ 8-1806. Release to owner.

(a) The Mayor shall not release a dog to its owner unless the owner has obtained a license as provided in § 8-1804.

(b) An owner of an animal that is impounded shall pay the following:

(1) An impoundment fee of $15 for animals certified by a licensed veterinarian as either spayed or neutered or incapable of enduring spaying or neutering;

(2) An impoundment fee of $15 for unneutered and unspayed animals, provided the owner agrees to have the animal sterilized and prepays the cost of the surgery;

(3) An impoundment fee of $75 for dogs and $50 for all other animals that have not been spayed or neutered, where the owner does not utilize the option in paragraph (2) of this subsection;

(4) A boarding fee of $5 for each night after the 1st night;

(5) The cost of veterinary services, including vaccinations, provided by the Mayor; and

(6) Any outstanding fines.

(c) The Mayor shall issue a notice of violation to an owner of an animal impounded under § 8-1805 except that this subsection shall not apply the 1st time an owner has an animal impounded.

CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 7, 26 DCR 765; Mar. 17, 1993, D.C. Law 9-236, § 2(c), 40 DCR 614.)

 

§ 8-1807. Adoption.

(a) The Mayor shall not release a dog for adoption unless the person adopting the dog obtains a license as provided in § 8-1804.

(b)(1) The Mayor shall not release a female animal over the age of 6 months for adoption unless:

(A) The animal has been spayed; and

(B) The person adopting the animal has paid the expense of spaying.

(2) The Mayor shall not release a female animal under the age of 6 months for adoption unless the person adopting the animal has paid the expense of spaying the animal. The person adopting the animal shall have it spayed before it becomes 6 months of age.

(3) The Mayor shall not release a male animal over the age of 10 months for adoption unless:

(A) The animal has been neutered; and

(B) The person adopting the animal has paid the expense of neutering.

(4) The Mayor shall not release a male animal under the age of 10 months for adoption unless the person adopting the animal has paid the expense of neutering the animal. The person adopting the animal shall have it neutered before it becomes 10 months of age.

(5) The Mayor shall refund any money collected for the purpose of spaying or neutering an animal upon proof that the animal has been spayed or neutered by a private veterinarian.

CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 8, 26 DCR 765; Sept. 16, 1980, D.C. Law 3-97, § 2(c), 27 DCR 3523.)

 

§ 8-1808. Prohibited conduct.

(a) No owner of an animal shall allow the animal to go at large.

(b) No person shall knowingly and falsely deny ownership of any animal.
 
(c) No person shall remove the license of a dog without the permission of its owner.
 
(d) No person shall change the natural color of a baby chicken, duckling, other fowl or rabbit.
 
(e) No dog shall be permitted on any school ground when school is in session or on any public recreation area, other than a dog park, unless the dog is leashed.
 
(f) No person shall sell or offer for sale a baby chicken, duckling, other fowl, or rabbit that has had its natural color changed.
 
(g) No person shall sell or offer for sale a rabbit under the age of 16 weeks or a chick or duck under the age of 8 weeks except for agricultural or scientific purposes.
 
(h)(1) Except as provided in this subsection, no person shall import into the District, possess, display, offer for sale, trade, barter, exchange, or adoption, or give as a household pet any living member of the animal kingdom including those born or raised in captivity, except the following: domestic dogs (excluding hybrids with wolves, coyotes, or jackals), domestic cats (excluding hybrids with ocelots or margays), domesticated rodents and rabbits, captive-bred species of common cage birds, nonpoisonous snakes, fish, and turtles, traditionally kept in the home for pleasure rather than for commercial purposes, and racing pigeons (when kept in compliance with permit requirements).
 
(2) A person may offer the species enumerated in paragraph (1) of this subsection to a public zoo, park, or museum for exhibition purposes.
 
(3) This section shall not apply to federally licensed animal exhibitors; however, the Mayor retains the authority to restrict the movement of any prohibited animal into the District and the conditions under which those movements are made.
 
(4) The Mayor may allow a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, a licensed veterinarian, or a licensed animal shelter to maintain an animal prohibited in this subsection for treatment or pending appropriate disposition.
 
(5) Paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply to persons who own or possess domestic dog hybrids of wolves, coyotes, or jackals prior to March 17, 1993.
 
(i) No person may sponsor, promote, train an animal to participate in, contribute to the involvement of an animal in, or attend as a spectator any activity or event in which any animal engages in unnatural behavior, is wrestled or fought, mentally or physically harassed, or displayed in such a way that the animal is struck, abused, or mentally or physically stressed or traumatized, or is induced, goaded or encouraged to perform or react through the use of chemical, mechanical, electrical, or manual devices in a manner that will cause, or is likely to cause, physical or other injury or suffering. This prohibition applies to any event or activity at a public or private facility or property and is applicable regardless of the purpose of the event or activity and regardless of whether a fee is charged to spectators.
 
(j) No person who has control or custody of a dog shall, direct, encourage, cause, allow or otherwise aid or assist that dog to threaten, charge, bite, or attack a person or other animal, except that a person may keep a properly trained dog on private property to defend it and its occupants from intruders, and may order a dog to defend a person under attack. This section shall not apply to dogs who work for the Metropolitan Police Department or any other law enforcement agency.
 
(k) No person may display, exhibit, or otherwise move animals in the District of Columbia as part of a circus, carnival, or other special performance or event, without first obtaining a permit, issued by the Mayor, that governs the care and management of the animals.
 
CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 9, 26 DCR 765; Sept. 16, 1980, D.C. Law 3-97, § 2(d), (e), (g), 27 DCR 3523; Mar. 10, 1983, D.C. Law 4-199, § 4(b), 30 DCR 119; Mar. 17, 1993, D.C. Law 9-236, § 2(d), 40 DCR 614; June 8, 2001, D.C. Law 13-303, § 4, 47 DCR 7307; Dec. 10, 2005, D.C. Law 16-40, § 2(b), 52 DCR 9087; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 104(e), 55 DCR 9186.)

 

§ 8-1808.01. Dog parks.

(a) The Mayor is authorized to establish dog parks on District-owned parkland in which a dog under the verbal command of a responsible adult may exercise off-leash.

(b) A dog park shall be completely enclosed by a fence and gate, both no less than 5 feet in height.

(c) The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, shall issue rules to implement the provisions of this section. The rules shall:

(1) Establish procedures for selecting a site for establishment of a dog park, which shall include notice to the public and an opportunity for public comment; and

(2) Establish procedures for the operation, maintenance, and use of a dog park, which shall include a process for enforcement of the rules and for monitoring and addressing health and environmental safety concerns.

CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 9a, as added Dec. 10, 2005, D.C. Law 16- 40, § 2(c), 52 DCR 9087.)

 

§ 8-1809. Animal hobby permit.

(a) No person shall own or keep 7 or more mammals, larger than a guinea pig and over the age of 4 months, without obtaining an animal hobby permit: Except, that this section shall not apply to a licensed pet shop, licensed veterinary hospital, circus or traveling exhibition.

(b) An owner of 7 or more mammals shall before July 1st of each year or within 10 days of acquiring 7 or more mammals obtain the permit required by this section.

(c) An owner applying for an animal hobby permit shall fully describe the kind and number of mammals to be maintained and the premises where the mammals are to be kept.

(d) No animal hobby permit shall be issued to:
(1) An owner unless the owner has obtained the necessary animal licenses as required by law;
 
(2) An owner who maintains mammals for commercial purposes. For purposes of this section, “commercial purposes” shall not include the sale of offspring if such sales are occasional and are not the primary purpose for maintaining the mammals.
 
(e) The Mayor shall collect the fees and issue the permits as provided in this section.
 
(f) A holder of an animal hobby permit shall provide his mammals with appropriate veterinary care. A holder of an animal hobby permit shall maintain the premises and enclosures where the mammals are kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
 
(g) A holder of an animal hobby permit shall not permit objectionable odors or noises to disturb the comfort or quiet of any neighborhood. A holder of an animal hobby permit shall not permit a mammal to commit a nuisance on public space or property owned by others.
 
(h) The Mayor may revoke an animal hobby permit for failure to comply with the provisions of this section.
 
CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 10, 26 DCR 765; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 104(f), 55 DCR 9186.)

 

§ 8-1810. Education and incentive program.

The Mayor shall implement an education and incentive program, which shall include the following:

(1) Low cost spay and neuter clinic services; and

(2) Program for education of animal owners.

CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 11, 26 DCR 765.)

 

§ 8-1811. Penalty.

Each person who violates a provision of this chapter shall pay a fine not to exceed $25 for the first violation, $50 for the second violation occurring within a 24-month period, and $100 for each subsequent violation occurring within a 24-month period.

CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 12, 26 DCR 765; Mar. 17, 1993, D.C. Law 9-236, § 2(e), 40 DCR 614.)

 

§ 8-1812. Civil liability.

If a dog injures a person while at large, lack of knowledge of the dog's vicious propensity standing alone shall not absolve the owner from a finding of negligence.

CREDIT(S)

(Sept. 16, 1980, D.C. Law 3-97, § 2(f), 27 DCR 3523.)

 

§ 8-1813. Notice of violation.

(a) The Mayor may issue a notice of violation to any person who violates a provision of this chapter.

(b) A notice of violation shall:

(1) State the nature of the violation; and

(2) Describe the procedures provided in this section.

(c) A notice of violation shall be the summons and complaint for the purposes of this chapter.

(d) A person shall answer a notice of violation within 15 days by:

(1) Depositing and forfeiting collateral in an amount established by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; or

(2) Depositing collateral in an amount established by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and requesting, through the issuing agency, a trial in Court.

(e) The Mayor shall prescribe the form for the notice of violation and establish procedures for the administrative control of the notice of violation.

CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 13, 26 DCR 765.)

 
Subchapter II. Commercial Licensing Requirement.

§ 8-1821.01. Commercial animal breeder license.

(a) Within 180 days of December 5, 2008, the Mayor shall establish licensure requirements for commercial animal breeders in the District of Columbia, which shall include:

(1) Licensing fees;

(2) Standards for the care and management of animals; and

(3) Facility inspection requirements.
(b) For the purposes of this section, the term “commercial animal breeder” means any person, firm, organization, or corporation engaged in the operation of breeding and raising more than 25 animals per year for sale or in return for consideration.
 
CREDIT(S)

(Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 201, 55 DCR 9186.)
 
 
§ 8-1821.02. Commercial pet care facilities; rulemaking.

(a) No person shall operate a commercial pet care facility without first obtaining a basic business license with an Inspected Sales and Services license endorsement pursuant to Title 47. The Mayor shall issue rules to establish the standards for the care and management of animals in a commercial pet care facility.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the term “commercial pet care facility” means a facility that provides day or overnight boarding, or provides pet-related services, including feeding, exercise, training, bathing, or grooming, but does not include an animal facility as defined in § 3-502 or a licensed pet shop.

CREDIT(S)

(Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 202, 55 DCR 9186.)
 

 Subchapter III. Release of Animals.

§ 8-1831.01. Release of animals.

(a) No person shall release an animal from the custody or control of any entity charged with animal protection for any purpose except adoption or to improve the opportunity for adoption, redemption by the owner of the animal, or other suitable placement in the best interest of the animal. No animals shall be knowingly released from any entity charged with animal protection for the purposes of research, experimentation, testing, or medical instruction or demonstration.

(b) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 180 days, a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.

CREDIT(S)

(Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 301, 55 DCR 9186.)
 
 

Subchapter IV. Commercial Guard Dogs

 
§ 8-1841.01. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term “commercial guard dog” means any dog trained to guard, protect, patrol, or defend any commercial premises.

CREDIT(S)

(Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 401, 55 DCR 9186.)
 
 
§ 8-1841.02. License; immunizations.

(a) All commercial guard dogs shall have a valid commercial guard dog license issued pursuant to District law. Upon issuance of a license, the Mayor shall issue a fluorescent guard dog identification tag, or such other tag as the Mayor determines appropriate, to be affixed to the collar or harness of the commercial guard dog to indicate the dog is a commercial guard dog

(b) All commercial guard dogs shall be immunized against rabies and distemper pursuant to District law, and a current and valid certificate of these immunizations shall be retained on file by the owner of the commercial guard dog.

CREDIT(S)

(Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 402, 55 DCR 9186.)
 
 
§ 8-1841.03. Health.

(a) All commercial guard dogs shall undergo an annual examination by a licensed veterinarian for the purpose of determining whether or not the animal is healthy and fit to work as a commercial guard dog. Upon a determination by a licensed veterinarian that a commercial guard dog is unfit to work, the dog shall not be used to guard, protect, patrol, or defend any commercial premises until the dog is re-examined by the veterinarian. Upon a determination by a licensed veterinarian that a commercial guard dog is permanently unfit to work, the dog shall be immediately retired.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any individual, business, or entity to cause, allow, use, or train commercial guard dogs that have undergone the surgical procedure of ventricular cordectomy.

CREDIT(S)

(Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 403, 55 DCR 9186.)
 
 
§ 8-1841.04. Insurance requirements.

An individual, business, or entity that utilizes a commercial guard dog shall maintain a general liability insurance policy for bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage of not less than $50,000 to insure against liability resulting from acts of the animal performed while on guard duty.
CREDIT(S)

(Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 404, 55 DCR 9186.)
 
 
§ 8-1841.05. Notification requirements.

An individual, business, or entity that utilizes a commercial guard dog shall notify the Mayor, in writing, as to the presence of the animal and shall provide contact information for the entity responsible for the animal and a 24-hour emergency telephone number.
CREDIT(S)

(Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 405, 55 DCR 9186.)

 
§ 8-1841.06. Signage.

An individual, business, or entity that utilizes a commercial guard dog shall post a sign in plain view alerting the public to the presence of a commercial guard dog and shall include the name of the entity responsible for the animal and a 24-hour emergency telephone.
CREDIT(S)

(Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 406, 55 DCR 9186.)


§ 8-1841.07. Care of animal.

A commercial guard dog shall not be maintained on any premises unless the dog is provided:

(1) Full access to an enclosed shelter sufficient to protect the dog from wind, rain, excessive heat or cold, and disease; and
(2) Continuous access to sufficient food and water.
CREDIT(S)

(Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 407, 55 DCR 9186.)


§ 8-1841.08. Violation and penalty.

Any person found guilty of violating this subchapter shall be subject to a penalty of $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.
CREDIT(S)

(Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 408, 55 DCR 9186.)

 
§ 8-1841.09. Rules-Amended 2012
Sec. 65. Section 409 of the Animal Protection Amendment Act of 2008, effective December 5, 2008 (D.C. Law 17–281; D.C. Official Code § 8–1841.09), is amended by striking the phrase “this section” and inserting the phrase “this title”.
The Mayor shall issue rules to implement the provisions of this subchapter.
CREDIT(S)

(Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 409, 55 DCR 9186.)

 

Subtitle E. Animal Control and Protection. Chapter 19. Dangerous Dogs.

§ 8-1901. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:
(1) (A) “Dangerous dog” means any dog that without provocation:

(i) Causes a serious injury to a person or domestic animal; or

(ii) Engages in behavior described in paragraph (4)(A)(i) of this section subsequent to having been determined to be a potentially dangerous dog pursuant to § 8-1902.

(B) The term “dangerous dog” shall not include dogs used by law enforcement officials when the dog is being used for legitimate law enforcement purposes.

(2) “Impound” means taken into the custody of the Mayor.

(3) “Owner” means any person, firm, corporation, organization, or department possessing, harboring, keeping, having an interest in, or having control or custody of a dog.

(4)(A) “Potentially dangerous dog” means any dog that:

(i) Without provocation, chases or menaces a person or domestic animal in an aggressive manner, causing an injury to a person or domestic animal that is less severe than a serious injury;

(ii) In a menacing manner, approaches without provocation any person or domestic animal as if to attack, or has demonstrated a propensity to attack without provocation or otherwise to endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals; or

(iii) Is running at-large and has been impounded by an animal control agency 3 or more times in the District within any 12-month period.

(B) The term “potentially dangerous dog” shall not include dogs used by law enforcement officials when the dog is being used for legitimate law enforcement purposes.

(5) “Proper enclosure” means secure confinement indoors or secure confinement outdoors in a locked structure designed and constructed to:
 
(A) Deter escape of the dog;
 
(B) Protect the dog from the elements; and
 
(C) Prevent contact with the dog from humans and other domestic animals.
 
(6) “Serious injury” means any physical injury that results in broken bones or lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.
 
CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1988, D.C. Law 7-176, § 2, 35 DCR 4787; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 105(a), 55 DCR 9186.)

 

§ 8-1902. Determination of a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog.

(a) The Mayor is authorized to conduct an investigation and make a determination as to whether a dog is a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog. In determining whether a dog is a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog, the Mayor shall consider all evidence obtained or presented to the Mayor relevant to the issue of whether the dog's behavior was the result of provocation or otherwise justified under the circumstances.
 
(b)(1) A dog shall not be determined to be a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog if the dog injured:
 
(A) A person who, at the time of injury, was committing a willful trespass upon the premises lawfully occupied by the owner;
 
(B) A person who, at the time of injury, was provoking, tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog or has repeatedly, in the past, provoked, tormented, abused, or assaulted the dog;
 
(C) A person or domestic animal because, at the time of injury, the dog was responding to injury, or was protecting itself or its offspring; or
 
(D) A person or domestic animal because, at the time of injury, the dog was protecting or defending a human being within the immediate vicinity of the dog from an attack or assault.
 
(2) The burden of proof on establishing that the dog falls into one of the categories described in paragraph (1) of this subsection is on the owner.
 
(c) The Mayor shall provide notice of the determination to the owner by personal service, posting, or prepaid mail. The owner may contest the determination and request a hearing by filing a written appeal within 15 business days of the date the notice of determination is served, posted, or mailed. The Mayor shall provide reasonable notice of the hearing to the owner.
 
(d)(1) If the Mayor has probable cause to believe a dog is a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog and may pose a threat to public safety, the Mayor, after providing notice to the owner of the probable cause determination, may obtain a search warrant pursuant to Rule 204 of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Rules of Civil Procedure and impound the dog pending final disposition of the case.
 
(2) The owner shall be liable to the District for the costs and expenses of the impoundment of the dog unless the dog is determined to be neither a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog. If a dog is determined to be a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog, the owner, prior to reclaiming the dog in accordance with § 8-1903, shall reimburse the animal control agency its costs and expenses for the care of the dogs while in the animal control agency's custody plus any reasonable veterinary fees incurred for the dog during the period of impoundment. An owner's failure to pay the costs and expenses within 5 days of a final determination shall result in ownership of the dog reverting to the animal control agency.
 
(e)(1) The hearing shall be held not less than 5, and not more than 10 days, excluding holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays, after service of notice of the hearing upon the owner. The hearing shall be open to the public. The owner shall have the opportunity to present evidence as to why the dog should not be declared a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog, including evidence of provocation or justification pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, or not be determined to pose a threat to public safety if returned to its owner. The Mayor may decide all issues for or against the owner regardless of whether the owner appears at the hearing.
 
(f) Within 5 days after the hearing, the Mayor shall notify the owner in writing of the determination of the hearing officer.
 
(g)(1) Within 5 days of the issuance of an order by the hearing officer determining that the dog is a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog, the owner may bring a petition in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia seeking review of the determination.
 
(2) A court order vacating the determination shall not prevent the Mayor from later determining that the dog is a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog or poses a threat to public safety, based upon the dog's subsequent behavior.
 
CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1988, D.C. Law 7-176, § 3, 35 DCR 4787; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 105(b), 55 DCR 9186; Sept. 26, 2012, D.C. Law 19-171, § 66, 59 DCR 6190.)

 

§ 8-1903. Consequences of a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog determination.

(a) If the Mayor determines that a dog is a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog, the owner shall comply with the requirements of §§ 8-1904 and 8-1905 and any other special security or care requirements the Mayor may establish.

(b) If a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog has been impounded and determined to pose a threat to public safety, the Mayor may only return the dog to its owner if the owner has:

(1) Met the registration requirements of § 8-1904;

(2) Agreed to comply with the requirements of § 8-1905, where necessary; and

(3) Met or agreed to comply with any additional security or care requirements established by the Mayor.

(c) The Mayor may humanely destroy a dog if:

(1) The dog has been determined to be a threat to public safety if it is returned to the owner;

(2) The owner fails to comply with the registration requirements of § 8-1904, the requirements of § 8-1905, or any special security or care requirements established by the Mayor;

(3) The owner fails to reimburse the animal control agency for the costs and expenses of the dog's impoundment as required by § 8-1902(d)(2); or

(4) The owner forfeits the dog for humane destruction.

CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1988, D.C. Law 7-176, § 4, 35 DCR 4787; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 105(c), 55 DCR 9186.)

 

§ 8-1904. Dangerous dog and potentially dangerous dog registration requirements.

(a) The Mayor shall issue a certificate of registration to the owner of a potentially dangerous dog if the owner establishes to the satisfaction of the Mayor that:
 
(1) The owner of the potentially dangerous dog is 18 years of age or older;
 
(2) A valid license has been issued for the potentially dangerous dog pursuant to District law;
 
(3) The potentially dangerous dog has current vaccinations;
 
(4) The owner has a proper enclosure, as determined by the Mayor, to confine the potentially dangerous dog;
 
(5) The owner has paid an annual fee in an amount to be determined by the Mayor, in addition to regular dog licensing fees, to register the potentially dangerous dog;
 
(6) The potentially dangerous dog has been spayed or neutered;
 
(7) The potentially dangerous dog has been implanted with a microchip containing owner identification information; and
 
(8) The owner has written permission of the property owner, if the dog owner is not the property owner, and from a homeowner's association, if appropriate, to house the dog on the premises where the dog will be kept.
 
(b) The Mayor shall issue a certificate of registration to the owner of a dangerous dog if the owner, in addition to satisfying the requirements for registration of a potentially dangerous dog pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, establishes to the satisfaction of the Mayor that the owner of the dangerous dog has posted on the premises a clearly visible, printed warning sign, in type that is readable from not less than 50 feet, that there is a dangerous dog on the property, and that includes a conspicuous warning symbol that informs children of the presence of a dangerous dog.
 
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(Oct. 18, 1988, D.C. Law 7-176, § 5, 35 DCR 4787; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 105(d), 55 DCR 9186.)

 

§ 8-1905. Dangerous dog and potentially dangerous dog owner responsibilities.

It shall be unlawful to:
(1) Keep a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog without a valid certificate of registration issued under § 8-1904;
 
(2) Permit a potentially dangerous dog to be outside a proper enclosure unless the potentially dangerous dog is under the control of a responsible person and restrained by a chain or leash, not exceeding 4 feet in length;
 
(3) Fail to maintain a dangerous dog exclusively on the owner's property except for medical treatment or examination. When removed from the owner's property for medical treatment or examination, the dangerous dog shall be caged or under the control of a responsible person and muzzled and restrained with a chain or leash, not exceeding 4 feet in length. The muzzle shall be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dangerous dog or interfere with its vision or respiration, but shall prevent it from biting any human being or animal;
 
(4) Fail to notify the Mayor within 24 hours if a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog is on the loose, is unconfined, has attacked another domestic animal, has attacked a human being, has died, has been sold, or has been given away. If the potentially dangerous or dangerous dog has been sold or given away, the owner shall also provide the Mayor with the name, address, and telephone number of the new owner of the potentially dangerous or dangerous dog;
 
(5) Fail to surrender a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog to the Mayor for safe confinement pending disposition of the case when there is a reason to believe that the potentially dangerous or dangerous dog poses a threat to public safety;
 
(6) Fail to comply with any special security or care requirements for a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog the Mayor may establish pursuant to § 8-1903; or
 
(7) Remove a dangerous dog from the District without written permission from the Mayor.
 
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(Oct. 18, 1988, D.C. Law 7-176, § 6, 35 DCR 4787; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 105(e), 55 DCR 9186.)

 

§ 8-1906. Penalties.

(a) An owner of a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog who violates the provisions of § 8-1904 or § 8-1905 shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor and be subject to a fine not to exceed $500, imprisonment not to exceed 90 days, or both for a first offense, and a fine not to exceed $1,000, imprisonment not to exceed 90 days, or both for a second or subsequent offense. Prosecutions for violations of § 8-1904 or § 8-1905 pursuant to this subsection shall be brought in the name of the District of Columbia in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.
 
(b) An owner of a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog that causes serious injury to or kills a human being or a domestic animal without provocation shall be fined up to $10,000.
 
(c) A violation of this chapter shall be a civil infraction for purposes of Chapter 18 of title 2. Civil fines, penalties, and fees may be imposed as sanctions for any infraction of the provisions of this chapter, or the rules issued under authority of this chapter, pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2 Adjudication of any infractions shall be pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2.
 
(d) The fines set forth in this section shall not be limited by § 22-3571.01.
 
Credits
 
(Oct. 18, 1988, D.C. Law 7-176, § 7 (a)-(c), 35 DCR 4787; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 105(f), 55 DCR 9186; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 113(b), 60 DCR 2064.)
 

§ 8-1907. Annual dangerous dog licensing drive; educational program.

(a) The Mayor shall conduct an annual dangerous dog licensing drive in order to ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
 
(b) Within 180 days of October 18, 1988, the Mayor shall implement an educational campaign for the public on provisions of this chapter and existing laws concerning animal control.
 
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(Oct. 18, 1988, D.C. Law 7-176, § 8, 35 DCR 4787.)

 

§ 8-1908. Rules.

The Mayor shall, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, issue rules to implement the provisions of this chapter.

CREDIT(S)

(Oct. 18, 1988, D.C. Law 7-176, § 10, 35 DCR 4787.)

 

 



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