Dangerous Dogs: Determination

Dangerous dog sign

One of WCRAS’ primary goals is to help ensure the safety of our community from domestic animal related problems.  Dangerous dogs can pose a serious threat to the safety and welfare of citizens in Washoe County.  The number of unprovoked dog attacks on children, adults and other domestic animals is of great concern and WCRAS takes these cases very seriously.  In order to adequately increase public safety, it is necessary for regulation of dogs that pose a threat within our community.  WCRAS provides services to mitigate problems and to regulate dogs exhibiting dangerous behavior including:

  • Responding to and investigating reports of aggressive dogs
  • Investigating animal bites
  • Addressing stray dog complaints
  • Verifying compliance of mandatory rabies vaccination and dog licensing requirements
  • Petitioning or assisting the victim in petitioning to determine an offending dog as Dangerous, thereby obtaining requirements and restrictions associated with the keeping of a Dangerous Dog.

W.C.C 55.750

What Can Constitute a Dangerous Dog?

  • Without provocation, on 2 separate occasions within 18 months, has behaved menacingly, to a degree that would lead a reasonable person to defend himself against substantial bodily harm, when the dog is off his own property or
  • Without being provoked, killed or inflicted substantial bodily harm upon a human being on public or private property, regardless of whether the dog was on his own property or not or
  • Without being provoked, it killed or injured any domestic animal while off of his own property or
  • If the dog was used in the commission of a crime, a law enforcement agency may petition to declare a dog dangerous

What Cannot be Used to Constitute a Dangerous Dog?

  • Determination based solely on breed of dog.
  • A defensive act against a person who was committing or attempting to commit a crime (ex. A burglar breaks into a residence and is attacked by resident dog).
  • If a person provokes the dog by physically abusing, tormenting, teasing, assaulting, or attacking the dog.

What Can You Do?

If you or your animal has been attacked by a dog, or you are an authorized representative for someone who has, you should seek medical attention if necessary and then call WCRAS to report the incident at 775-322-3647, 8 am - 10 pm daily or, for after hours emergency, call 911.   Animal Control Officers are here to assist you. 

If the incident meets the criteria for a dangerous dog determination hearing, an Officer can assist you with making a request to file a complaint before an administrative hearing officer or a judge, and request the dog be determined dangerous. 

The purpose of the administrative hearing is to allow the victim as well as the owner of the dog in question to present evidence and testimony to the hearing officer or judge for consideration in the determination.  The hearing officer or judge may make a determination that the dog is or is not a dangerous dog based upon evidence of the dog’s history or propensity to attack without provocation as outlined within WCC 55.750. 

Dangerous Dog Determination Hearings are held at the Washoe County Administrative Complex at 1001 East Ninth Street, Reno, Nevada 89512.  You can reach the Administrative Hearing Office at 775-328-2001 or you can request a hearing in person at 1001 East Ninth Street, Reno, NV 89512. Administrative Hearing Office

If a dog is determined dangerous by a Hearing Officer or Judge, an Animal Services Supervisor will make contact with the dog owner to explain requirements and restrictions under WCC 55.760 and WCC55.770