Would You Welcome a Map of Dangerous Dogs in Your City?

Online maps such as one launched in Tennessee are becoming more common, showing locations and photos of court-designated dangerous dogs.

Michael Leaverton  |  May 8th 2013

Last week, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee unveiled its “dangerous dog map,” which lists dogs that a judge has deemed dangerous. It’s important to note that the map features only court-designated dangerous dogs, which are dogs cited by the court and found guilty of aggression, biting, or killing another animal.

It works like an online sex-offender registry. The map shows not only where the dogs live, but also what they did and what they look like.

“We felt responsible to tell the public about dogs that were classified as dangerous,” Knox County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Robert Hubbs told WBIR.com.

He says that many times owners don’t comply with court orders — some allow their dogs to run free despite a judge’s instructions to keep the dog leashed. That, he claims, puts neighbors in danger.

“It’s not just about that dog and that individual. It extends to the kids in the neighborhood and other animals. Bottom line, we don’t want anyone else bit. We don’t want anyone else’s animal killed,” he said.

Knox County is a relatively small area, and only about a dozen dogs are on the map. But already it has become controversial.

Vernita Law says her Boxer, Sassy, shouldn’t be on the list. She says her dog has been wrongly accused and didn’t bite anyone. Here’s Sassy’s profile:

The notice claims that Sassy bit a neighbor, but Law maintains her dog did nothing of the sort. And the police report doesn’t either, only that Sassy “seemed aggressive.” An officer cited her dog for aggression, and she paid the fine. Now, she has to have her dog on a leash at all times when in public.

“She’s not a pet, just a part of the family,” said Law. “Sassy shouldn’t be on there, she’s not a dangerous dog,” said Law.

Other people in Knox Country praise the database. Joe Griffith just learned that he’s living near a dog that killed another dog after escaping, according to WATE.com.

“That’s pretty scary. If I take my dog for a walk, it could get out. … I’ll keep my eyes open and I’m sure she will,” he said, referring to his dog Dixie.

Quinton Smith also found out he lives near a dangerous dog. He’s not worried for himself, but he can see how the map would be good for others.

“It’s good for people with small children or small dogs that would like to know if there’s a dog that could harm their dog or harm their children,” Smith said.

Dangerous dog maps are in a few other areas as well, such as Minneapolis, MN; Dallas, TX; and Orlando, FL.

What do you think? Would you object if there was a dangerous dog map of your city, or would you welcome it?