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Dangerous Dog Laws in West Virginia

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An angry dog barking and growling.

West Virginia’s dog bite laws follow what’s commonly known as the “one-bite rule.” The owner of a dog may not be held liable the first time his or her dog bites another person. Subsequently, though, owners may be considered liable for any future bites.

Defining a Dangerous Dog

West Virginia Statute 19-20-21 stipulates that anyone who keeps a dangerous dog for the purpose of protection must obtain a special license. There are also requirements regarding securing of the dog so that others aren’t injured.

But what makes a dog dangerous? With West Virginia following the one-bite rule, any dog that has bitten someone will be deemed dangerous. Additionally, a dog that is vicious and threatening may be defined as dangerous.

Once a dog has been ruled dangerous, owner liability will be easier to prove if someone is attacked or bitten.

Some cities in West Virginia have breed restrictions and other breed-specific laws. In Wheeling, WV, for example, pit bulls are automatically considered dangerous.

Seeking Help from a Dog Attack Attorney in Clarksburg

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 4.7 million people are the victims of a dog bite every year in the United States. If you were a victim, seek legal advice from an attorney at The Miley Legal Group. Call us at 1-877-652-1031. We can evaluate the circumstances of the case to determine your legal options under the state’s dog bite laws.

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Written by
Tim Miley
Tim Miley is the founder of The Miley Legal Group. After earning his undergraduate degree in finance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, Tim attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, where he received his Juris Doctorate. Tim is admitted to practice in all courts in West Virginia and is currently a member of the American Association for Justice, the West Virginia American Association for Justice, the West Virginia Bar Association and the Harrison County Bar Association.
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Our writers only gather information from credible sources. This includes peer-reviewed medical journals, reputable media outlets, government reports, court records, and interviews with qualified experts.