Wood County Dog Shelter

Jodi Harding, Chief Dog Warden

A department under the Board of County Commissioners

Doris I. Herringshaw, Ed.D.    Craig LaHote    Theodore H. Bowlus

Ohio Dangerous & Vicious Dog Law Overview

Dog Wardens and other law enforcement officers are required by law to designate dogs within their jurisdiction as nuisance, dangerous or vicious if they have reasonable cause to believe they meet the definitions.

Nuisance Dog

Subject to 955.11(a)(3)(b), nuisance dog means a dog that without provocation and while off the premises of its owner, keeper, or harborer has chased or approached a person in either a menacing fashion or an apparent attitude of attack or has attempted to bite or otherwise endanger any person.

Dangerous Dog

Subject to 955.11(a)(1)(b), dangerous dog means a dog that, without provocation, has done any of the following:

(i) caused injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person

(ii) killed another dog

(iii) been the subject of a third or subsequent violation of division (c) of section 955.22 of the revised code

Vicious Dog

Subject to 955.11(a)(6)(b), vicious dog means a dog that, without provocation, has killed or caused serious injury to any person.

Designation Process & Appeals

Dog Wardens and other law enforcement officers will provide dog owners, keepers or harborers with notice, either in person or via certified mail, whenever they designate a dog as nuisance, dangerous or vicious.

It is important to accept designation notices as they provide time sensitive appeal information and notification of the dog's designation (e.g. nuisance, dangerous or vicious). Failure to accept the certified letter does not stop the designation process.

If you disagree with the designation of the dog as nuisance, dangerous or vicious you may appeal the designation in writing, submitted to the municipal or county court having jurisdiction over the owner, keeper or harborer's residence, not later than ten days after receiving notice of the designation.

If a hearing is requested appropriately and timely, a hearing will be held and the person who designated the dog has the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that the dog is a nuisance, dangerous or vicious dog. The owner, keeper or harborer and the person who designated the dog may appeal the court's final determination.


Owners, keepers or harborers of dogs designated as dangerous or vicious are subject to stricter confinement requirements, liability insurance if determined by a judge for dangerous dogs and mandatory for vicious dogs, dangerous dog registration requirements in addition to the regular dog license and other requirements.

The Dangerous Dog Requirements outlines the requirements for owning dangerous and vicious dogs.

The Dangerous Dog Registration explains the process and documents necessary to obtain the annual dangerous dog license.