Dog Control Panel Appeal That a Dog Is Not Dangerous
This legislation created new sections governing "Dangerous and Potentially Dangerous Dogs" which became effective January 17, 1999. Section 1731 of these provisions created a Dog Control Panel, appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, which is authorized to declare a dog dangerous or potentially dangerous upon the finding of certain facts.
Where there is a finding that the dog is dangerous, this Panel is authorized to impose restrictions on the owner as a condition for keeping the animal or pursuant to Section 1734, direct that it be disposed of by euthanasia in accordance with 3 Del. C. 8001. the Panel in these proceedings found the dog dangerous and ordered that it be disposed of by euthanasia.
7 Del. C. 1736(a) states, "The Panel may declare a dog to be potentially dangerous if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the dog:
(1) Attacked or inflicted physical injury upon a human being;
(2) Attacked or inflicted serious physical injury upon a domestic animal, provided the domestic animal was on the property of its owner or under immediate control of its owner; or
(3) Chased or pursued a person, including, but not limited to a person on a bicycle, upon the streets, sidewalks or any public or private property, other than the dog owner's property, in an apparent attitude of attack on 2 separate occasions within a 12-month period.
7 Del. C. 1735(a) states, "The Panel may declare a dog to be dangerous if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the dog:
(1) Killed or inflicted physical injury or serious physical injury upon a human being;
(2) Killed or inflicted serious physical injury upon a domestic animal, provided the domestic animal was on the property of its owner or under the immediate control of its owner.
The provisions of 7 Del. C. 1734(c) provide:
"(c) Where the owner of an impounded dog is in disagreement with the action of the Panel, the owner may appeal the Panel's determination to the Court of Common Pleas within 10 days of the receipt of the written determination. Upon such appeal, the court shall hear the evidence de novo, and the filing of an appeal shall act as a stay of the Panel's decision, pending final disposition of the appeal. If the court rules the impounded dog to be dangerous or potentially dangerous, the court shall impose the requirements for keeping or maintaining such dog set forth in 1735 or 1736 of this title, respectively, within time frames consistent with subsection (b) of this section." (Emphasis added).