NOTE: This process relates to incidents that happen in the unincorporated areas of Lane County. If the incident happened in an incorporated city, please contact that city's animal control agency. For a list of those phone numbers, please click here.
Helpful Links - find on this page in the left side bar
My dog is not vicious!
The Lane County dangerous dog code has a number of subsections established for specific situations involving everything from dogs running at large and menacing a person or animal, to biting a person or killing another animal. Some dogs have vicious intentions whether provoked or unprovoked. Dogs that typically display a friendly type of behavior can end up creating a dangerous situation and can therefore be classified by the court as displaying dangerous behavior.
Example: A person is walking their leashed dog down the sidewalk. A little dog named Fluffy runs off his property, down the sidewalk directly behind the person and their dog. Maybe Fluffy just wanted to say hello. However, the person and their dog are startled and uncertain of Fluffy's intentions. The startled dog pulls it's leash away from the owner's grip, knocking them to the ground then the dog dashes into the street. The dog gets hit by a car resulting in a serious injury.
This can be a very traumatic and costly situation for all involved. Due to Fluffy's behavior (being at large and out of his owner's control), without meaning to, he has created a very dangerous situation. The dog owner not only is in violation of the Lane Code, but may be responsible for the victim's medical and vet bills, restitution for their injured or lost pet, and potential civil liabilities for the vehicle damage or injuries sustained by the driver of the vehicle. This may seem like an elaborate example, however the story comes from a very real and unfortunate situation.
There are many different scenarios that could result in a dog being classified by the court as exhibiting dangerous behavior. The story as explained above may not be the typical situation, but is one of many reasons a dog may be classified. For further detail on how or why a dog may be classified, please review the Lane County code definition of animal owner in section 7.005 and the dangerous behavior section of Lane County Code 7.130.
Please, be a responsible pet owner!
Click here for dog training tips.
Please be prepared to provide the date, time, and exact full address of the incident location along with the dog description and dog owner's address. It is helpful if you know the dog owner's name and phone number however, this is not required and normally is not known at the time of the complaint. Vehicle description and plate numbers are also helpful for locating the dog owner. The more info you are able to provide about the dog owner, the quicker we will be able to make contact.
When you contact us in person or call our office, we will obtain the needed info from you, explain processes and options, answer your questions, and provide you with any other helpful resources we may have available to assist you. A call card will be filled out for the Sr. Animal Welfare Officer (AWO) to pick-up for response.
Dangerous Behavior - informal PR (public relations)
- These types of complaints are not anonymous.
- A witnessed complainant may be filed anytime within six months from the incident date.
- Anyone has the right to request public information (reports, dispatch records, etc.). A records request form may be obtained from LCAS. For info on the records request process click here.
- A DB dog owner has the right to due process. In these situations, impoundment and/or euthanasia seldom occurs and usually only happens in the following circumstances:
- Impoundment - when it's mandatory per Lane Code 7.045(4) / 7.130 (3c-e).
- Impoundment - if the dog is still at large at time of incident and the owner is unavailable for contact to re-confine the dog.
- Euthanasia - if the dog owner chooses this option (with court approval).
- Euthanasia - due to repeat serious offences, by court order.
- Euthanasia - if the dog is impounded for failure to comply with the court order and the dog owner does not make arrangements to comply and redeem their dog within the required time frame, and the dog is found to be unadoptable to a new owner. If the dog is found to be adoptable, the new owner must comply with the existing court ordered restrictions.
- Once a dog is classified by the court, the classification/probation term is usually 1 year.
- The dog owner is not required to appear in court at the end of the probation term. If all the restrictions have been maintained, the file is automatically closed and the dog is declassified.
- Classified dogs are not allowed in the LCAS customer service center.
May be accepted for all code subsections under Lane Code 7.130 Class A, B or C.
The Officer's process:
Dangerous Behavior - formal
- May contact the owner either in person or by phone for the interview.
- May not follow-up with the complainant directly, unless requested.
- Provide the dog owner with info pertaining to the laws.
- Will check the status of dog license records for the complainant and dog owner.
- Inform the dog owner that any further related incidents that occur within a six month time frame may result in a formal complaint being filed against them.
- Attempt to resolve the situation for the safety and welfare of all involved.
May be accepted only for a Class A, or if a warning has already been given for a Class B or C under Lane Code 7.130.
The Officer's process:
- Will call to make an appt. with the complainant to obtain their signed statement, take photos, explain the process, and answer questions.
- May ask the complainant for an in-person I.D. of the dog involved in the alleged incident.
- Contact the dog owner to explain the process, take photos and issue citation(s). The dog owner will be given an arraignment date which is written at the bottom of the citation. The owner must decide how they will plead and notify the court of their decision by the arraignment date.
- The Officer prepares his report and sends to the Lane County Justice Court in Florence.
Impoundment - pending a dangerous dog classification
Per Lane Code 7.045 subsection (4), it is mandatory that the dog involved in the alleged violation be impounded under the following conditions: The violation is alleged to be a Class A of the Lane Code 7.130, subsection 3 c through e. The dog must remain impounded until the dog owner either complies with the court ordered restrictions, or the court dismisses the case.
Impound and board fees may apply.
For info on impound/board fees, please contact the 1st Ave. Shelter, click here.
Dog Owner's Rights - Trial Options
No Contest, Guilty, or Guilty Finding at Trial
The dog owner may choose to plead no contest, guilty, or may be found guilty after trial. The owner may also end up guilty by default for failure to appear for trial. The court will then prepare the court order, give a copy to the dog owner, and a copy to LCAS for compliance follow-up. The complainant is not notified but may request final disposition information.
Not Guilty Finding
- Dog owner contacts the court to request a trial.
- Court sets the date, sends a trial notice to dog owner and a copy to LCAS.
- LCAS mails a trial notice to the complainant/witness. The trial notice will include info such as the date, time, and location of the trial along with instructions on how to request a continuance.
If the dog owner is found not guilty at trial, or the complainant/witness fails to appear, the case may be dismissed.
A complainant may choose to drop charges by doing the following:
Once this process is complete, LCAS will notify the dog owner the charges have been dropped.
The Court Order / Restrictions
- Filling out a consent to drop charges form in person at LCAS.
- Complainant must show photo I.D. at the time the form is signed.
- The form must be signed prior to the DB judgment being entered by the court.
The probation term for DB restrictions compliance is usually one (1) year.
The judge may revise, or impose some or all of the restrictions.
The following is an example of a DB court order:
The Defendant has __ been found __ pleaded guilty of a dangerous behavior violation.
The defendant is ordered to comply with the restrictions imposed in this judgment for
a period of ___ years. Failure to comply can result in new charges being filed for
violation of restrictions ($816 fine) and/or contempt of court, which carries a potential fine
of up to $500 per violation and/or up to 6 months in jail per violation.
The dog shall be confined in a secure enclosure whenever the dog is not inside the home of the owner/caretaker.
Dog shall be on a leash under owner/caretaker’s control when off the owner/caretaker’s property.
- The owner shall post warning signs specifying the dog has engaged in dangerous behavior.Signs are purchased from Lane County Animal Services.
- The owner shall pay an additional annual dangerous behavior-licensing fee.
- The owner shall purchase from Lane County Animal Services a collar and tag indicating the dog has exhibited dangerous behavior. The dog shall wear the collar and tag. Failure to have the dog wear the collar and tag is a violation. Collars, tags and signs must be purchased within 14 days from the date of this Judgment.
- Secure enclosure of (dog's name) shall be maintained, with inspection by Lane County Animal Services no later than (date).
- Defendant shall pay a fine of $____ and restitution to (victims name) within 60 days of this order.
- Defendant shall keep the court informed of his/her address.
- Defendant shall not dispose of the dog without prior court approval.
- Defendant shall obey all animal control laws.
- Defendant shall cooperate with Lane County Animal Services.
Defendant shall not use abusive or foul language toward animal services staff.
Lane County Animal Services employees may inspect the premises and condition of the dog.
Defendant shall not contact the victim in this case.
Proof of spay or neuter to be provided to the court by (date).
Defendant and dog shall complete an animal obedience class and provide proof of completion to the court by (date).
Defendant shall not obtain any more animals during the restrictions period.
After Receiving The Court Order
The court order will include compliance due dates. Compliance restrictions may include that the dog owner obtain a muzzle for their dog which may be purchased from any pet store of their choice.
Restrictions may also include that a secure enclosure be built and inspected by the Animal Welfare Officer prior to it's use. For more info on enclosure building requirements, please review 'Secure Enclosure' on the definitions page of the Lane County Code 7.005.
The following compliance license tag, collars, and sign are to be purchased from Lane County Animal Services. It is not required or recommended that you bring the dog with you to purchase compliance supplies.
License and supply charges:
|| LANE CODE
*DB = Dangerous Behavior
Failure to Comply
Once LCAS receives a copy of the court order, the LCAS staff will monitor for compliance. If the dog owner fails to comply by the due dates as stated in the court order, the dog owner may be subject to fines and impoundment of their dog. Additionally LCAS staff will notify the court of the dog owners fail to comply status.
If you are a witness to a violation of the dangerous behavior (DB) court order and wish to file a complaint, please call us and follow the complaint process as outlined on this website.
For info on fines and/or Lane County code regarding failure to comply with DB restrictions, please review the Lane County code 7.135 (7) and/or fine schedule.
Renewal of Dangerous Behavior License Tags
If the dog owner is found guilty of any violations of the court order, the judge may extend the probation term. The DB license tag fee is a separate tag and is in addition to the regular Lane Co. dog license. The DB license tag is good for a term of one (1) year. If the term is extended beyond that date, the dog owner will then be required to pay the DB renew license tag fee.
Probation End / File Closure
At the end of the one year probation term, if the dog owner has maintained full compliance, the file is closed. This process does not require the dog owner to appear in court or sign any paperwork and the complainant is not notified unless they contact us to request status.