Dangerous & Vicious Dogs

Dog owners need to be aware of the regulations that govern vicious and dangerous dogs.

What are the legal definitions for dangerous and vicious dogs in Fairfax County?

Fairfax County follows the state law regarding dangerous dogs ( §3.2-6540) and vicious dogs( §3.2-6540.1)

Are there times when a dog that has bitten is not deemed dangerous?

Yes the state law ( §3.2-6540) denotes provisions for this.

What happens if I have an incident involving a dog bite or attack?

  • Call Animal Protection Police at 703-691-2131
  • The responding officer will confine the animal in a manner permitted by law
  • The case may be brought to court for a judge to determine if the dog is dangerous or vicious

Are there certain breeds that are more dangerous?

No animal shall be deemed dangerous solely because of its breed.

What happens if a judge finds my dog to be dangerous or vicious?

Apply for and purchase a "Dangerous Dog" registration tag (currently $150) from the Animal Services Division

How can I find out if there are any dangerous dogs in my neighborhood?

Are dogs in allowed to run free in Fairfax County?

  • Dogs are not allowed to roam free.
  • Exceptions include:
    • A dog under owners supervision while lawfully hunting
    • Engaged in an obedience training class or show
    • While in a Fairfax County-sanctioned off-leash or dog exercise area

What should I do if I see a dog running free in Fairfax County?

  • Call the non-emergency dispatch number, 703-691-2131
  • An Animal Control Officer must witness a violation for a law enforcement action to occur, otherwise the citizen may request a warrant from a magistrate

What happens if my dog runs free and gets picked up by an officer?

  • An unrestricted dog may be impounded (taken to the Animal Shelter)
  • If the owner is immediately located, the owner may be issued a summons


Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

ADA Accessibility | Website Accessibility
Awards | FOIA | Mobile | Using this Site | Web Disclaimer & Privacy Policy | Get Adobe Reader
Official site of the County of Fairfax, Virginia, © Copyright 2015

Website Feedback Website Feedback    Globe with various flags representing Web site language translations   Language Translations

Alert Logo   New Website Coming Soon--Check Out a Preview!
Return to Graphic Version