Looking for Advice on Dealing with Animal Control
February 5, 2013 5:05 PM   Subscribe

How to best deal with animal control taking away family dogs after an incident?

My friend adopted two Italian Mastiffs several months ago. The breed is often dog agressive, and they had successfully trained their previous rescue, so they have been working extensively with the dogs and a trainer. Today the dogs were out with their dogwalker and one of the dogs attacked another dog. Later in the day Animal Control came and took the dogs away. My friend has been told they can write a letter asking to have the dogs stay with them until a Animal Control decision is made about the dogs. They have a fenced yard in suburban Maryland, USA.

Does anyone have any experience with animal control taking away dogs? What is likely to happen next? Any sense as to whether they'll be able to have the dogs home with them in the short term? If not both dogs, maybe the dog that didn't attack another dog? Any advice on how to deal with Animal Control, other than to be polite and state their case for dog safety?
posted by ldthomps to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Please please have your friends call the good people at The Lexus Project, Legal Defense for All Breeds. If they aren't well-versed in the dangerous dog laws for your area, they will know a law firm that does. Since the dogs have been given up, the timeline for action is very short. Please talk to the experts!
posted by muddgirl at 5:37 PM on February 5, 2013 [7 favorites]

Not given up - taken away.
posted by muddgirl at 5:38 PM on February 5, 2013

A strong seconding for immediately contacting the Lexus Project. They are very good.
posted by vers at 5:44 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

i think this is going to be very much dependent on how your local animal control operates, city ordinances, if the shelter is no-kill, etc. my boyfriend is an animal control officer and i believe that in his jurisdiction animal-on-animal bites are of low concern. the dog might need to be quarantined for rabies for a week or so (which could potentially be done at the owner's residence), but aside from that the dog wouldn't be in danger of being euthanized unless it killed the other dog or the attack was so bad that it was seriously injured. he works in a no-kill city, though, and they won't really seize a dog unless it is declared dangerous or vicious under state/local law. so, your mileage will definitely vary.

to be proactive, your friend may wish to write a letter outlining the safety provisions they'll adopt - fencing, training, liability insurance, etc. but again, since this will be so completely dependent on the jurisdiction it's hard to say what effect that will have.
posted by marshmallow peep at 5:48 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm assuming this was a bad attack so they need to consider their home owners insurance before taking the dogs back. They almost certainly will run afoul of something in it.

As a dog owner who's dog has been attacked twice now I can tell you I would pursue ALL legal options against owners fighting euthanasia like this so they need to think long and hard about worst case scenarios.
posted by fshgrl at 6:14 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would expect the non-attacking dog to be returned btw but again, their insurance company may try to get it gone.
posted by fshgrl at 6:16 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, all! They did get in touch with the Lexus Project, and got custody at the Pre-Trial, and will have help at the Trial (a month away) from one of their lawyers as well.
posted by ldthomps at 12:27 PM on February 8, 2013

Response by poster: As an addendum, my friends found the lawyer they got through the Lexus Project to be good, but found their fundraising contract and web-promotion requirements confusing at best. Still seems like a helpful resource, but get a good understanding of the contract.
posted by ldthomps at 1:46 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

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