Dangerous and Potentially Dangerous Animals

Domestic animals that have bitten or demonstrated other aggressive behaviors are investigated to determine if the animal should be declared "dangerous" or "potentially dangerous" under Minnesota State Statute and Saint Paul City Ordinance. Saint Paul Animal Control (SPAC) conducts these investigations and makes declarations. The declaration is based on whether or not the incident was provoked or unprovoked and the severity of the incident.

There are three types of declarations that may be issued as a result of the investigation:

  1. Potentially Dangerous Animal (Standard or with Enhancements)
  2. Dangerous Animal
  3. Destruct Order

Any animal that bites a person or another animal, or approaches a person or another animal in an "attitude of attack" is subject to investigation. The animal may be impounded and kenneled at SPAC for the duration of the investigation, until compliance is met. The owner is responsible for pay all fees associated with impoundment and care while the animal is at SPAC.

Declared animals must comply with certain requirements to safeguard the public against future attacks or aggression. SPAC conducts annual and complaint-based inspections to ensure these requirements are met.

Potentially Dangerous Animals

Potentially Dangerous - Standard Declaration

Owners of declared potentially dangerous animals must meet the following requirements:

  • The animal must be microchipped
  • The owner must purchase a Lifetime License if the animal is a dog
  • Provide proof of up-to-date rabies vaccinations
  • The owner is required to notify SPAC if they move, transfer ownership to another person, or if the animal dies.

Potentially Dangerous - Enhanced Declaration

If an enhanced order is given, owners must meet the above requirements and one or more of the following:

  • Provide a "proper enclosure"
  • Maintain the dog on a three foot leash and muzzle if the animal is not in the proper enclosure
  • Enroll in and complete an animal training class.

Dangerous Animals

Owners of declared dangerous animals must meet the following requirements:

  • Provide a "proper enclosure"
  • Keep the animal on a three foot leash and muzzle when the animal is outside the proper enclosure
  • Install signing issued by SPAC warning the public that a dangerous animal is on the property
  • Maintain a dangerous animal tag on the animal's collar
  • Pay an annual dangerous animal registration fee ($86)
  • The owner must purchase a Lifetime License if the animal is a dog
  • Provide proof of up-to-date rabies vaccinations
  • Purchase or provide proof of a liability insurance of at least $300,000
  • Have the animal spayed or neutered
  • The owner is required to notify SPAC if they move, transfer ownership to another person, or if the animal dies

Destruct Order

Destruct orders are issued for the most serious incidents and for noncompliance with dangerous animal requirements.

Proper Enclosures

A proper enclosure is a specially confined outdoor kennel, or a secure indoor area that meets the following requirements:

Outdoor Kennels must:

  • Be a minimum of 32 square feet per animal
  • Have sidewalls that are at least 5 feet high
  • Have openings that are not more than two inches wide
  • Be constructed of 11 gauge or heavier wire
  • Be on a concrete pad or the fence must be buried 18 inches
  • Be supported by posts 1 1/4 inches or larger that are steel pipe and buries 18 inches or sunk into concrete
  • Have a kennel entrance constructed in the same manner as the rest of the kennel
  • Have a self-closing gate that latches and is locked at all times when the animal is inside the kennel
  • Be covered in the same material as the rest of the kennel
  • Have shade in the summer, a dog house with a flap in the winter, and access to drinkable water year round that is free from ice and debris (if the animal is kenneled for extended periods)

Owners utilizing Indoor Enclosures must:

  • Ensure their animal is never confined on a porch or patio
  • Ensure their animal is not confined in areas with open windows, screen windows, or screen doors
  • Ensure the animal is muzzled and leashed when outside, even if outdoors on the owner's fenced property.

Removal of Potentially Dangerous and Dangerous Declarations

After two years, owners may request that SPAC remove a declaration of dangerousness or potential dangerousness.

In order for a declaration to be removed, owners must provide evidence that the dog's behavior has changed due to the dog's age, spaying or neutering, environment, completion of training classes, or other factors. Passage of time without an incident by itself is not sufficient evidence to remove a declaration.

Legal Authority

View Saint Paul City Ordinance, Chapter 200 for the full text governing Potentially Dangerous and Dangerous Animals in Saint Paul.

View Minnesota State Statute, Section 347.50-347.56 for the full text governing Potentially Dangerous and Dangerous Animals in Minnesota.

 

If you have questions, contact our Animal Control office at 651-266-1100, or email the DSI Message Center