City of Harrisburg, PA
Dauphin County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Harrisburg 10-22-1996 by Ord. No. 16-1996. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 3-513.1 Criteria for determination of dangerous animal.

A. 
In order to preserve the public health, safety and welfare of the community, any animal which possesses at least one out of the following list of characteristics shall automatically be determined and classified as a dangerous animal:
[Amended 9-28-2004 by Ord. No. 33-2004[1]]
(1) 
A strong fighting instinct and a low level of fighting inhibition which make these animals hazards to humans as well as to other animals;
(2) 
A strong chase instinct;
(3) 
A tendency to attack even those persons and animals that exhibit no provocative behavior;
(4) 
A diminished tendency to bark, growl or otherwise warn their prey of an intent to attack;
(5) 
A tendency to fight to the death and never quit a fight once engaged;
(6) 
The ability to withstand great pain making it difficult for a person or other animal to fight off an attack or to prevent an attack;
(7) 
Powerful jaws cable of crushing bones and hanging on to victims notwithstanding infliction of injury or pain to ward off an attack;
(8) 
A tendency to tear flesh, which has resulted in grotesque injuries to victims;
(9) 
A combination of agility, stamina and strength, together with a genetic predisposition to aggressiveness which makes the animal uniquely dangerous, even to its owner;
(10) 
Evidence that the animal has, without provocation, bitten or attacked a person and/or other animal three times in a consecutive twelve-month period without inflicting substantial injury;
(11) 
Evidence that the animal has, without provocation, bitten or attacked a person and/or other animal once causing substantial wounds or injuries creating a potential danger to the health or life of the victim;
(12) 
Animal is not licensed, does not have a current vaccination for rabies, does not have a valid identification tag, and/or cannot be restrained from chasing, attacking or worrying a person;
(13) 
Owner or possessor has refused to surrender the animal as required by a valid judicial order issued pursuant to this section; or
(14) 
Owner or possessor uses or has used the animal in the commission of a crime.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1-303).
B. 
Once an animal has been designated as a dangerous animal, whoever owns, keeps or has in his or her possession any dangerous animal of any kind whatsoever which attacks any person or animal within the corporate boundaries of the City shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a summary offense and shall, in the discretion of the magisterial district judge with appropriate jurisdiction, be subject to a fine as described in this chapter, or shall permanently remove the offending animal from said neighborhood, or shall be required to deliver up the offending animal to be killed in the most humane manner possible, or shall be subject to both a fine and the requirement to permanently remove the offending animal from said neighborhood or to deliver up the offending animal to be killed in the most humane manner possible. If such person is required to deliver up said animal to be removed or euthanized as aforesaid and he or she refuses to do so, then it shall be the duty of any police officer, or any duly empowered agent of the City, who sees such animal wherever it may be found in the City to cause it to be removed from said neighborhood or cause it to be euthanized in the most humane manner possible.
[Amended 9-28-2004 by Ord. No. 33-2004]
C. 
No person shall be convicted under this chapter where the injuries inflicted by the dangerous animal were caused by provocation, teasing or baiting of the animal or where the victim was injured by the dangerous animal while said victim was committing a criminal act.
D. 
It shall not be necessary, under this chapter, to serve a first or preliminary notice upon any person owning, keeping or having in his or her possession a dangerous animal when such animal has bitten or attacked any person or other animal, and said owner, keeper or possessor of said dangerous animal shall, upon sworn complaint of one person, be subject to summons and citation under this chapter.
E. 
If the animal must be impounded or euthanized, the owner shall, in addition to any other fines or penalties, reimburse all reasonable costs incurred by the City for said impoundment or euthanization. Failure to pay such fee to the City within 15 days of such impoundment or euthanization shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
[Added 9-28-2004 by Ord. No. 33-2004]

§ 3-513.2 Presumption of animal fighting.

Any person who owns, keeps or has in his or her possession two or more unlicensed dangerous animals, as defined in § 3-513.1, over the age of six months will automatically be presumed to hold such animals for the purposes of animal fighting and will be subject to immediate confiscation of such animals by any police officer or any duly empowered agent of the City in addition to being issued appropriate fines and penalties as prescribed in this chapter.

§ 3-513.3 Requirements for possession or ownership of dangerous animal.

Any person who owns, keeps or has in his or her possession any licensed animal designated as a dangerous animal will be subject to the following:
A. 
The dangerous animal must be confined in a properly contained enclosure, and the premises must be posted with a clearly visible warning sign that there is a dangerous animal on the property. In addition, the owner shall conspicuously display a sign with a warning symbol that informs children of the presence of a dangerous animal.
B. 
The owner of a dangerous animal must provide, upon demand, proof of liability insurance, such as homeowner's insurance, issued by an insurer authorized to do business within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the amount of at least $50,000 insuring the owner for any personal injuries inflicted by the dangerous animal upon humans or other animals.

§ 3-513.4 Control of dangerous animals.

It is unlawful for an owner or keeper of a dangerous animal to permit the animal to be outside the proper enclosure unless the animal is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash and under physical restraint of a responsible person.

§ 3-513.5 Public safety.

A dangerous animal shall be immediately confiscated by any police officer or any duly empowered agent of the City upon the occurrence of any of the following:
A. 
The animal is not maintained in the proper enclosure.
B. 
The animal is outside of the dwelling of the owner or outside of the proper enclosure and not under the physical restraint of the owner or person responsible for said animal.

§ 3-513.6 Interference with City agents.

A. 
No person shall interfere with, hinder or molest any authorized employee or agent of the City or its Animal Control Section in the performance of any duty as herein provided.
B. 
No person shall interfere or tamper with or damage any trap or release any animal caught in a trap set by any authorized employee or agent of the City or its Animal Control Section.

§ 3-513.99 Penalty.

A. 
Any person found guilty of violating § 3-513.6 shall be subject to a fine of $100, plus costs, if it is the first offense. The penalty shall be $1,000, plus costs, for each subsequent offense.
B. 
Any person violating any other provision of this chapter shall be fined $350, plus costs, if it is the first offense. The penalty shall be $1,000, plus costs, for each subsequent offense.
C. 
Anyone convicted under Chapter 3-513 twice within any twelve-month period shall forfeit the right to own, possess or have under his or her control any domestic animal or fowl for a period of two years beginning from the date of the second conviction. Anyone found in violation hereof shall be subject to a fine of $1,000 and, in default thereof, imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, plus costs.