Thank you for the additional information. The way that the code defines an animal as vicious is so vague and general, that any animal can be labeled and determined to be "vicious"
A “vicious dog” is defined, pursuant to 7-23-2109, MCA as one which bites or attempts to bite any human being without provocation or which harasses, chases, bites, or attempts to bite any other animal. The term “animal” includes all livestock and any domestic pet.
As such, while there may have been a basis to issue the citation, you can try and work out a plea deal, agreeing to accept and plea to the citation for having the dog off the leash, in exchange for a dismissal of the vicious dog charge. When asking for this, you certainly want to present evidence showing the breed of the dog and it does not have any vicious propensities or demonstrated any, since you have owned the animal. You can always try and argue that the dogs action were a result of the other dog attacking him and he was responding in the same manner any animal would have, who was in danger and needed to defend themselves. Moreover, if the other dog bit your dog, they also should have been issued a citation as well. If you do pay for the vet bills, this may also be a mitigating factor to be considered and the State may contact the victim and speak with them about the incident, seeing if it was isolated and accident
and if they would agree to a dismissal of the one charge.
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