South Dakota Dog Laws 2023: Rabies, Dog Bites, Dog Cruelty, and Dog Chains

South Dakota Dog Laws 2023: Rabies, Dog Bites, Dog Cruelty, and Dog Chains
South Dakota Dog Laws 2023: Rabies, Dog Bites, Dog Cruelty, and Dog Chains

(Picture Credit: Annie Otzen / Getty Images)

What are the dog laws in South Dakota? Does South Dakota have dog laws? If you live in this state, you might be wondering what the law says about issues like rabies vaccination, dog bites, dog cruelty, and dog chains. 

Read on for more information about dog laws in South Dakota.

What Dog Vaccines Are Required by Law in South Dakota?

All dogs residing in South Dakota must receive a rabies vaccination by three months of age. After their first vaccination, owners must vaccinate their dogs either annually or triannually depending on the vaccination they receive. Even friendly dogs may bite on occasion under stressful circumstances, so it’s best to practice safety first and always keep your dog up to date on their vaccines. While the state of South Dakota requires no other vaccines by law, your veterinarian will often recommend additional vaccines for highly transmissible diseases such as Parvovirus; vaccinating your dog for these diseases as well is a great preventative measure to keep them safe in public areas like the dog park.

If an unvaccinated dog bites someone in South Dakota, the state will consider them a potential rabies carrier. The dog may go into quarantine and/or face euthanasia. If they are not showing symptoms of rabies, they will go through a ten-day quarantine to check for developing symptoms.

What Are the Dog Bite Laws in South Dakota?

South Dakota does not have a Dog Bite Statute, but follows the One-Bite Rule. SD is one of only 16 states to practice the once-common One Bite rule. This means that a dog owner is only liable for dog injuries on a dog’s first recorded bite or attack if the owner had reason to know that the dog was dangerous or had the potential to pose a threat. Going forward, if the dog attacks again, they will be considered ‘known to be dangerous’, and the owner will be held liable for future damages. This does not apply in severe cases, such as a dog mauling or killing someone in a case other than defense of the owner. 

 There are cases where dogs will not be considered aggressors in attacks, even if previously proven to be dangerous. Dog owners are not responsible for attacks in which the dog was provoked or protecting the owner. This could include yelling at, hitting, or throwing objects at the dog. Additionally, if you trespass on private property and an otherwise contained dog attacks you, the dog’s owner would not be liable. 

‘Common Sense’ Prohibition

Additionally, in some cases, there may be a ‘common sense’ prohibition on finding a dog owner liable. For example, most people know to leave an eating dog or a mother with puppies alone. Bothering an animal when you could predict aggressive behavior will not always result in liability for the owner. 

A dangerous dog, particularly a repeat offender, may be euthanized if this is determined to be in the best interest of the safety of the community. After one documented bite, the state of South Dakota considers a dog vicious. This means that subsequent bites may lead to euthanasia. Additionally, a severe enough attack could lead the court to determine euthanasia is the best course of action even for a first offender. 

What Are South Dakota Dog Abandonment Laws? 

What is considered animal abandonment in South Dakota?

South Dakota has little definition for animal abandonment in their laws. However, 40-1-2.3. states that “no person owning or responsible for the care of an animal may neglect, abandon, or mistreat the animal.”

What is the punishment for animal abandonment in South Dakota?

In South Dakota, proven animal abandonment is a misdemeanor. 

Who pays for an abandoned dog’s vet care in South Dakota?

South Dakota law determines that when an owner abandons an animal, they relinquish all rights to them. However, the old owner may still be responsible for costs of care in cases such as abandonment at a boarding kennel. 

What Are South Dakota Dog Cruelty Laws?

What is considered dog cruelty in South Dakota?

South Dakota has a wide range of defined actions that are viewed as animal cruelty. Of course, it is illegal to hit, kick, beat, or otherwise inflict physical pain or suffering on a dog unless in the case of self-defense or an otherwise justifiable action. The state also considers it animal cruelty to deprive a dog of things that one could reasonably assume they need – food, water, shelter, exercise, vet care. 

What is the punishment for dog cruelty in South Dakota?

South Dakota’s punishment for neglectful animal cruelty is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. However, animal cruelty with intent – such as kicking or hitting a dog – is a Class 6 felony. 

What is the punishment for dogfighting in South Dakota?

As in the other 49 states, dogfighting is a felony in South Dakota. This doesn’t apply only to those directly fighting their animals. Charges can also occur for those betting on or attending dogfights in South Dakota. It’s also illegal to train dogs for the intent of fighting, even if you aren’t directly participating in dogfights.

What Are South Dakota Dog Chain Laws?

Tethering or chaining a dog is legal in South Dakota. South Dakota actually has no state ordinances regarding tethering or chaining a dog. However, some individual counties do, so research where you live specifically. As a general rule of thumb, never tether a dog to anything that could choke or injure them, and provide tethered dogs with food, water, and shelter.

How Does South Dakota Dog Law Rank Against Other States?

The Animal Legal Defense Fund ranks South Dakota #35 out of all 50 US States for animal protection laws. This makes South Dakota a ‘middle-tier’ state by their standards. Why does SD rank this way? There’s plenty of good and some bad about this state’s animal protection laws.

On the plus side, South Dakota has a wide range of care standards/requirements including food, water, shelter, care, and space. But on the downside, there are no felony provisions for negligent or reckless animal neglect or abandonment. And, veterinarians are not required to report suspected animal cruelty.

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