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LegalKnowledge
LegalKnowledge, Attorney
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I have been given a vicious dog citation. My dog is not vicious,

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I have been given a vicious dog citation. My dog is not vicious, but did get into a fight with a dog. He's a golden retreiver that raised a litter of kittens, lays in the yard with a dozen chickens and sleeps with "his" cat. In Montana that is a misdemeanor, I do take responsibility for him being off leash, and will even take responsibility for the other dogs vet bill. But an off leash violation and a vicious dog charge are quite different.
Do you recommend I try and get the vicious dog charge dismissed? And, any advice on how to do that?
Thanks
Taunya
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Is below the statute under which you were charged? If not, could you please provide me with the statute/code for the vicious dog citation?

7-23-2109. Vicious dog control

(1) The county governing body may regulate, restrain, control, kill, or quarantine any vicious dog, whether such dog is licensed or unlicensed, by the adoption of an ordinance which substantially complies with the provisions of 7- 5-103 through 7-5-107.

(2) A violation of any ordinance established as provided in subsection (1) is a misdemeanor.

(3) For purposes of this section, a "vicious dog" is defined 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.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Yes, that's the county code.


Here's the city code 6.04.080


Columbia Falls, MT 59912

Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
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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