Code of the District of Columbia

§ 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.


(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.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-1021.3.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 8-1902 and § 8-1905.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-281 rewrote the section which had read as follows: “If a determination is made that a dog is a dangerous dog under § 8-1902, the owner shall comply with the provisions of §§ 8-1904 and 8-1905 and any other special security or care requirements established by the Mayor, and in accordance with a time schedule established by the Mayor. A dangerous dog determined to constitute a significant threat to the public health and safety if returned to its owner may be humanely destroyed.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(d) of the Pit Bull and Rottweiler Dangerous Dog Designation Emergency Amendment Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-257, April 16, 1996, 43 DCR 2156).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 3(d) of the Dangerous Dog Designation Emergency Amendment Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-351, August 12, 1996, 43 DCR 4553).