Dog Bites and Euthanasia

Are you charged with “Unlawful Ownership Of A Dangerous Dog?”

Dogs have become members of the family, loyal friends, companions, and trusted side-kicks for many Coloradans. Unfortunately, they can sometimes react to new situations, people, and other dogs when they feel startled or afraid. This reaction might be in the form of barking, but sadly, can also result in a bite.

You can be charged with “unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog” if your dog bites and injures a person or another domestic animal such as another dog, cat, or other animal kept as a household pet or livestock.

What are the possible penalties?

If your dog is found guilty of being a dangerous dog you could face serious criminal penalties. The range of penalties depends on the severity of injury and the number of times your dog has previously violated the “unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog” statute.

A first time, non-aggravated, non-serious injury could result in a misdemeanor, a fine of $50 to $750, and/or up to six months in jail. This can be elevated to felony, a fine from $1,000 to $100,000, and/or one to three years in prison for injuries that cause death.

The penalties will often times include paying restitution. This includes the costs of any  hospital/veterinarian bills, a replacement dog, cat, household pet, or livestock, and any anticipated future expenses.

Will they euthanize (kill) my pet?

Your dog will be taken and held in a shelter until the case is resolved if a serious bite occurred to a person, or a bite caused the death of a domestic animal, or if the same dog has had a prior violation under the statute.

Your dog may then be euthanized by an order from the judge if you plea guilty to the charge, or if you go to a trial and lose. You will have a right to appeal the decision and the dog will not be euthanized (killed) until your right to appeal has been exhausted.

When and why should I hire an attorney?

If your dog has been taken to a shelter as a result of a bite to either a person or another animal you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. At this stage, your dog could be headed toward euthanasia/death and an experienced dog-bite criminal defense attorney will understand the kind of negotiated deal you can reach that won’t result in your beloved dog being put down.

It is important to avoid reaching any kind of deal with the government until you hire an attorney to review the terms because often times this is an area of law people are unfamiliar with and don’t understand that the law often times requires euthanasia/death even when you may be promised it won’t happen.


The best attorney is the attorney who spends time talking to you about your case, knows what is going on, and is willing to devote as much time as is needed to handle your case correctly. We bring big firm experience, significant criminal law experience, and jury trial readiness to you. Schedule a free consultation now by contacting us at (720) 213-3774 or by email at