Alabama Dog Laws: A Guide for Dog Lovers!

by McKenny Joshua | Last Updated: June 26, 2019

Planning to move to Alabama with your pooch? Thinking of getting pets? Or just curious on what facts you need to know about dog laws in Alabama?

There are many laws about dogs in different states, but here are some of the common laws you need to know in Alabama.

Alabama Leash Law

Nearly every administration in the country has a leash law. A Leash Law is one that prohibits dog owners from letting their dogs run loose, meaning dogs must always be confined or leashed.

You might wonder “Why? Isn’t it better if dogs run wild and just have fun?” Uh –- no! We should remember that dogs have different ways of assessing situations, leash laws are meant to protect not just the public health and safety but as well as your dog’s health and safety.

There are actually a lot of benefits in keeping dogs in leashes such as:

Keep in mind that a dog owner may be fined between $2 and $50 for failure to leash their dog. Above all else, leash laws are a way to keep your beloved dogs safe and sound.

Breed Specific Laws

It is also known as Breed Discriminatory Legislation, is basically a set of laws that urge certain restrictions on owners of specific dog breeds in the hopes of decreasing human dog bite injuries.

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There are different forms of BSL, one is a complete ban, others are incomplete forms such as mandatory spayedand neuter, muzzle laws, special licensing or liability insurance, confinement restrictions etc.

A bill was signed by Governor Kay Ivey called Emily’s Law, the law seeks to hold pet owners criminally liable if and when their dog causes injury or death to another human.

The law sets up a process for people to file a sworn statement that dog is dangerous, prompting an investigation by an animal control or law enforcement officer.

If your dog is declared dangerous, a number of things might happen such as, the owner might be required to muzzle the dog in public or to affix a “vicious dog” sign on your front door.

The owner might also be ordered to find their dog a new home in another community. In worst cases there’s a chance that your dog will be ordered to be euthanized.

If a court rules that a dog is dangerous, but has not caused serious physical injury or death, the owner could be allowed to keep the dog.

However owners must register the animal annually with animal control or the county health department, have the dog spayed and neutered as well as have the animal permanently identified with a microchip and obtain a $100,000 bond protecting against injuries by the dog.

Here are the different cities implementing Breed Specific Law:

Albertville                   Pit Bull                                                Declared “Dangerous”

Center Point              Pit Bull                                                Ban

Fayette                       Pit Bull                                                Ban

Gardendale                Pit Bull                                                Ban

Gadsden                    Pit Bull                                                Declared “Dangerous”

Irondale                      Pit bull &PresaCanario                    Ban

Jacksonville City       Pitt Bull, Rottweiler & Wolf-dogs     Declared “Dangerous”

Lanett                         Pit Bull &PresaCanario                    Ban

Midfield                      Pit Bull                                                Ban

Tarrant                        Pit Bull, Bull Rottweiler & Terriers   Declared “Vicious”

Weaver                       Pit Bull                                                Declared “Vicious”

Although their main goal is to promote human safety by reducing the number of “dangerous” dogs who could potentially bite humans, there has been no scientific study supporting that dog breed is a factor for dogs randomly biting or being dangerous whatsoever.

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There has been no evidence that breed-specific laws make communities safer for people either, but of course we have to obey the law.

Pet License

Getting a pet licensing or simply renewing one is a yearly requirement in many cities and towns in the United States. All dogs and cats over the age of 4 months must be registered and licensed each year.

Owners will need to bring:

Identification and Microchip

It is recommended that pets have both microchips and a buckle or snap collar with a personalized identification tag.

It may seem inconvenient to some, but there are several benefits in licensing your pet such as:

Make sure to license your pet as well as vaccinate your fur babies to keep your pets in top shape! A little price to pay to keep the community as well as other animals safe and sound.

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Dog Bites Law

If you’re a dog owner, dog bite liabilities can be a serious concern. Laws have been passed making penalties more severe for damages caused by dogs. Dog owners are liable for the full amount of damages their dog causes to a person, domestic animal or property.

Liability Statute for Dog bites occurring on Dog owner’s Property

Alabama has a statute that makes dog owners liable for damages when their dog bites or injures a person, as long as the injured person is lawfully on the dog owner’s property at the time of the injury.

This also applies to cases where the injured person was lawfully on the dog owner’s property, but, because the dog chased the person, the injury actually occurred off the owner’s property.

A person is lawfully on the owner’s property if that person was invited there, on the other hand trespassers are not lawful; guests f the owner.

The only exception to this rule is in cases where the injured person provoked the dog and that provocation caused the dog to attack.

The statue permits a dog owner to defend the case by proving that he or she had no knowledge that the dog was vicious, dangerous or mischievous.

If the owner proves lack of knowledge, damages are limited to actual expenses incurred  by the injured person. 

Common Law Liability for Dog Bites occurring outside of Owner’s Property

When a dog bite occurs outside the owner’s property, the injured person’s right to recover damages is governed by negligence principles under the common law.

In that case, the injured person must prove that the owner knew that the dog had a dangerous tendency.

If the owner can prove that he had no knowledge of this, the owner will still be liable to pay for the actual expense incurred by the injured person.

Rabid Dogs

Alabama also has a rabid dog statute, if a dog owner knows the dog has rabies, the owner will be liable to twice the damages suffered by the injured person.