Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language


                         Laws of Minnesota 1988 

                        CHAPTER 711-S.F.No. 1744 
           An act relating to animals; regulating dangerous and 
          potentially dangerous dogs; protecting the health and 
          safety of dogs and cats left unattended in motor 
          vehicles; providing penalties; amending Minnesota 
          Statutes 1986, sections 609.226; and 609.227; 
          proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, 
          chapters 346 and 347. 
    Section 1.  [347.50] [DEFINITIONS.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [TERMS.] For the purpose of sections 1 to 
5, the terms defined in this section have the meanings given 
    Subd. 2.  [DANGEROUS DOG.] "Dangerous dog" means any dog 
that has:  
    (1) without provocation, inflicted substantial bodily harm 
on a human being on public or private property; 
    (2) killed a domestic animal without provocation while off 
the owner's property; or 
    (3) been found to be potentially dangerous, and after the 
owner has notice that the dog is potentially dangerous, the dog 
aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans 
or domestic animals.  
    Subd. 3.  [POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG.] "Potentially 
dangerous dog" means any dog that: 
    (1) when unprovoked, inflicts bites on a human or domestic 
animal on public or private property; 
    (2) when unprovoked, chases or approaches a person upon the 
streets, sidewalks, or any public property in an apparent 
attitude of attack; or 
    (3) has a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to 
attack unprovoked, causing injury or otherwise threatening the 
safety of humans or domestic animals. 
    Subd. 4.  [PROPER ENCLOSURE.] "Proper enclosure" means 
securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked 
pen or structure suitable to prevent the animal from escaping 
and providing protection from the elements for the dog.  
    Subd. 5.  [OWNER.] "Owner" means any person, firm, 
corporation, organization, or department possessing, harboring, 
keeping, having an interest in, or having custody or control of 
a dog.  
    Subd. 6.  [SUBSTANTIAL BODILY HARM.] "Substantial bodily 
harm" has the meaning given it under section 609.02, subdivision 
    Sec. 2.  [347.51] [DANGEROUS DOGS; REGISTRATION.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [REQUIREMENT.] No person may own a 
dangerous dog in this state unless the dog is registered as 
provided in this section.  
    Subd. 2.  [REGISTRATION.] A county shall issue a 
certificate of registration to the owner of a dangerous dog if 
the owner presents sufficient evidence that:  
    (1) a proper enclosure exists for the dangerous dog and a 
posting on the premises with a clearly visible warning sign, 
including a warning symbol to inform children, that there is a 
dangerous dog on the property; and 
    (2) a surety bond issued by a surety company authorized to 
conduct business in this state in a form acceptable to the 
county in the sum of at least $50,000, payable to any person 
injured by the dangerous dog, or a policy of liability insurance 
issued by an insurance company authorized to conduct business in 
this state in the amount of at least $50,000, insuring the owner 
for any personal injuries inflicted by the dangerous dog.  
    Subd. 3.  [FEE.] The county may charge the owner an annual 
fee, in addition to any regular dog licensing fees, to obtain a 
certificate of registration for a dangerous dog under this 
    Subd. 4.  [LAW ENFORCEMENT; EXEMPTION.] The provisions of 
this section do not apply to dangerous dogs used by law 
enforcement officials for police work. 
    Subd. 5.  [EXEMPTION.] Dogs may not be declared dangerous 
if the threat, injury, or damage was sustained by a person: 
    (1) who was committing, at the time, a willful trespass or 
other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner of the dog; 
    (2) who was provoking, tormenting, abusing, or assaulting 
the dog or has, in the past, been observed or reported to have 
provoked, tormented, abused, or assaulted the dog; or 
    (3) who was committing or attempting to commit a crime. 
of a dangerous dog resides in a county that does not license 
dogs under sections 347.08 to 347.21, the owner shall obtain a 
certificate as required under this section from the county 
auditor in the county where the owner resides. 
    Sec. 3.  [347.52] [DANGEROUS DOGS; REQUIREMENTS.] 
    An owner of a dangerous dog shall keep the dangerous dog, 
while on the owner's property, in a proper enclosure.  If the 
dog is outside the proper enclosure, the dog must be muzzled and 
restrained by a substantial chain or leash and under the 
physical restraint of a responsible person.  The muzzle must be 
made in a manner that will prevent the dog from biting any 
person or animal, but that will not cause injury to the dog or 
interfere with its vision or respiration. 
    Sec. 4.  [347.53] [POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOGS.] 
    Any statutory or home rule charter city, or any county, may 
regulate potentially dangerous dogs.  Nothing in sections 1 to 5 
limits any restrictions the local jurisdictions may place on 
owners of potentially dangerous dogs. 
    Sec. 5.  [347.54] [CONFISCATION.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [DANGEROUS DOGS.] The county shall 
immediately confiscate any dangerous dog if: 
    (1) the dog is not validly registered under section 2; 
    (2) the owner does not secure the proper liability 
insurance or surety coverage as required under section 2, 
subdivision 2; 
    (3) the dog is not maintained in the proper enclosure; or 
    (4) the dog is outside the proper enclosure and not under 
physical restraint of a responsible person as required under 
section 3. 
    Sec. 6.  [346.57] [DOGS AND CATS IN MOTOR VEHICLES.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [UNATTENDED DOGS OR CATS.] A person may not 
leave a dog or a cat unattended in a standing or parked motor 
vehicle in a manner that endangers the dog's or cat's health or 
    Subd. 2.  [REMOVAL OF DOGS OR CATS.] A peace officer, as 
defined in section 626.84, a humane agent, a dog warden, or a 
volunteer or professional member of a fire or rescue department 
of a political subdivision may use reasonable force to enter a 
motor vehicle and remove a dog or cat which has been left in the 
vehicle in violation of subdivision 1.  A person removing a dog 
or a cat under this subdivision shall use reasonable means to 
contact the owner of the dog or cat to arrange for its return 
home.  If the person is unable to contact the owner, the person 
may take the dog or cat to an animal shelter. 
    Subd. 3.  [PETTY MISDEMEANOR.] A person who violates 
subdivision 1 is subject to a fine of $25. 
    Sec. 7.  [347.55] [PENALTY.] 
    Any person who violates any provision of section 2 or 3 is 
guilty of a misdemeanor. 
    Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 609.226, is 
amended to read:  
    609.226 [HARM CAUSED BY A DOG.] 
person who causes great or substantial bodily harm to another by 
negligently or intentionally permitting any dog to run 
uncontrolled off the owner's premises, or negligently failing to 
keep it properly confined is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.  A 
person who is convicted of a second or subsequent violation of 
this section involving the same dog is guilty of a gross 
    Subd. 2.  [DANGEROUS DOGS.] If the owner of a dangerous 
dog, as defined under section 1, subdivision 2, has been 
convicted of a misdemeanor under section 7, and the same dog 
causes bodily injury to a person other than the owner, the owner 
is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and may be sentenced to 
imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine 
of not more than $3,000, or both. 
    Subd. 3.  [DEFENSE.] If proven by a preponderance of the 
evidence, it shall be an affirmative defense to liability under 
this section that the victim provoked the dog to cause the 
victim's bodily harm. 
    Sec. 9.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 609.227, is 
amended to read:  
    When a person has been convicted of charged with a crime 
under violation of section 609.205, clause (4), or of 609.226, 
subdivision 2 or 3, or a gross misdemeanor violation of section 
609.226, subdivision 1, the court may shall order that the 
animal which caused the death or injury be seized by the 
appropriate local law enforcement agency and.  The animal shall 
be killed in a proper and humane manner if the person has been 
convicted of the crime for which the animal was seized.  The 
owner of the animal shall pay the cost of confining and killing 
the animal.  This section shall not preempt local ordinances 
with more restrictive provisions. 
    Sec. 10.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
    Sections 7 to 9 are effective August 1, 1988, and apply to 
crimes committed on or after that date. 
    Approved May 4, 1988

Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes