Vicious and Dangerous Dog Unit
About the SFPD Vicious and Dangerous Dog Unit
The Vicious and Dangerous Dog Unit (VDDU) investigates incidents involving dogs that exhibit menacing and/or aggressive behavior. The VDDU encourages the public to immediately notify police whenever a dog bites, attempts to bite, lunges or chases a person or any domestic animal so that the police may secure the scene, render aid and document the incident in a police report. These police reports will be forwarded to the VDDU who will then evaluate each incident to determine the best means to ensure public safety.
Responding police officers have the authority to impound any dog that threatens the health safety and welfare of the community. Impounded dogs are usually held in custody pending a Vicious and Dangerous Dog Hearing.
Dogs that are not impounded but have demonstrated menacing and/or aggressive behavior are also eligible for a Vicious and Dangerous Dog Hearing. Any member of the public may request a Vicious and Dangerous Dog Hearing by filling out a Complaint Of Vicious and Dangerous Dog request which may be obtained by clicking the paw below or notifying the VDDU or Animal Care and Control who would then mail the request.
The purpose of a Vicious and Dangerous Dog Hearing is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public by determining which remedies would prevent the dog in question from presenting future risk to the public. Such remedies may include obedience training, muzzling, property inspection (containment of the dog) or, more often than not, educating the dog owner to make a specific change as to how the dog is controlled.
With very few exceptions, Vicious and Dangerous Dog Hearings are held on the below time:
The unit holds hearings:
When: Every Thursday
Time: 1:00 PM
Where: City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 408, San Francisco, CA 94102
850 Bryant Street, Room 500
San Francisco, CA 94103
Vicious and Dangerous Dog Complaint
- Vicious and Dangerous Dog complaint Form in English
- Vicious and Dangerous Dog complaint Form in Spanish
- Vicious and Dangerous Dog complaint Form in Chinese
If you feel that a dog is vicious and dangerous, you can file a Vicious and Dangerous Dog Complaint Form and send to Vicious and Dangerous Dog Unit via:
850 Bryant Street, Room 500
San Francisco, CA 94103
Main: (415) 553-9182
FAX: (415) 553-1963
Upon receipt of the completed request, you will be notified by mail of a scheduled hearing.
Vicious and Dangerous Dog Hearing Information
When does the complainant have to file a request?
All requests for hearings should be filed as soon as possible. If the dog and dog owner/ guardian are known, then the hearing should be held no later than 90 days from the date of the incident. If the dog and dog owner are not known, then the hearing shall be held no later than 90 days from when the dog or the dog owner/guardian is located or identified.
Who will review the request?
The Vicious and Dangerous Dog Unit will review all request for hearings. If, after the hearing has been scheduled and you cannot attend, the Vicious and Dangerous Dog Unit must be contacted at least 72 hours prior to the hearing so that another hearing date may be scheduled.
When will the hearing be held?
The hearing date shall be no less than 15 days from the date of the incident. The owner/guardian of the dog must be given at least 10 days notice prior to the hearing. (Waivers are granted when the dog in question is in custody and it is in the best interests of all parties that the hearing be held prior to the 15 day limit.) If the dog and dog owner/guardian are not known, the hearing shall be held no later than 90 days from the date the dog or the dog owner/guardian is located or identified.
How are theses hearings conducted?
The hearings are informal and open to the general public. Cases are heard under the auspices of an administrational hearing. A hearing officer shall be appointed to hear the cases. There is no jury nor will anyone be required to testify under oath. The hearings shall be recorded.
Who conducts the hearings?
Hearings will be presided over by a designated hearing officer from the San Francisco Police Department and facilitated by the San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control.
What is the outcome of these hearings?
In the event the hearing officer concludes that there is sufficient evidence that the dog in question is vicious and dangerous and that the health, safety and welfare of the community is at risk, the hearing officer may order that the dog in question be registered as vicious and dangerous and, as such, comply with a number of restrictions as designated in Article 1, Section 42.2 of the San Francisco Health Code. If the hearing officer determines that restrictions imposed by Article 1, Section 42.2 of the San Francisco Health Code are not sufficient to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community the dog may be ordered humanely destroyed.
The hearing officer’s decision may be appealed via the California Superior Court.