It is common for states and cities to pass laws restricting or prohibiting ownership of certain breeds of dogs. These laws are passed for safety purposes in an effort to prevent serious and fatal dog bite injuries. For this reason, the restricted breeds are those that are most often involved in violent and deadly dog attacks, such as pit bulls, American bulldogs and wolf-dog hybrids.

Does West Virginia Ban Certain Types of Dogs?

West Virginia does not have any statewide or universal restrictions on dog breeds. The State of West Virginia does not prohibit the keeping or ownership of any type of dog. However, several cities currently have bans or restrictions on dogs that are deemed vicious or dangerous. They include:

  • Barboursville: pit bulls and wolf hybrids are declared “vicious.”
  • Bluefield: pit bulls and wolf hybrids are banned.
  • Ceredo: pit bulls are banned.
  • Dunbar: pit bulls are declared “vicious.”
  • Fayetteville: pit bulls are declared “vicious.”
  • Huntington: pit bulls and wolf hybrids are declared “dangerous.”
  • Montgomery: pit bulls have breed restrictions.
  • Wheeling: pit bulls, American bulldogs and canary dogs are declared “vicious.”

In cities where certain breeds are declared vicious or dangerous, anyone who owns these dogs must obey specific laws for keeping and controlling them. Typically, these dogs are not permitted to be off-leash and must be muzzled in public. Cities that have banned certain breeds generally allow citizens who already own these dogs to keep them as long as the pets are registered.

What if a Pet Owner Has a Restricted Dog Breed?

It is a pet owner’s responsibility to ensure that he or she does not purchase, adopt or acquire a dog breed that is banned or prohibited in his or her city. Doing so could lead to repercussions such as a fee and the seizure or destruction of the dog. The owner of a restricted breed must know and obey municipal laws, such as muzzling. Breaking them can lead to fines and other consequences.

If a restricted or banned dog attacks someone, the consequences can include the humane euthanasia of the dog. This is also the case if the dog is not a restricted or prohibited breed. West Virginia Code 19-20D-1 states that if a dog attack results in required medical treatment of $2,000 or more, or if the dog engaged in two or more separate attacks in the last 12 months, a hearing can be held to determine if the dog should be humanely euthanized.

Other Dog Laws in West Virginia

Any dog breed in West Virginia can be deemed “dangerous” if it bites or attacks someone. Under WV Code 19-20-20, a dog that has been deemed dangerous or vicious (typically, one that is in the habit of biting or attacking people) is not allowed to be kept or harbored in the state. The courts may authorize a humane officer to euthanize such dogs. Otherwise, the owner of the dog will be required to purchase a special license from the county to keep the dog, for the purpose of protection.

Leash laws are similar to breed restrictions in that West Virginia does not have a universal law, but cities can make their own rules for when dogs must be leashed. The state does, however, have a law that places strict liability for a dog bite injury on the owner if the owner allowed the dog to run at large (WV Code 19-20-13). Running at large means that the animal is off the premises of the owner and is not under the owner’s control.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack in West Virginia, discuss your legal options with a West Virginia injury lawyer from Manchin Injury Law Group. We can help you navigate all of the state and local laws that apply to your case.

Attorney Timothy Manchin established the Manchin Injury Law Group in 2011 after his law partner of more than 25 years became a West Virginia circuit court judge. His focus is on helping individual clients and entire families victimized by negligent acts.

  • Taylor Downs was easy to talk to (I do not speak the legal language well!) and was very upfront and honest about the entire process of my case. He kept me updated as the case progressed, and answered my relentless questions. The end result was a favorable settlement that I’m not sure could have been any better with anyone else. In short, go see Taylor if you have a case. Don’t be intimidated to go seek his help, he won’t blow your brains out with “legal speak”.


  • Being referred to Taylor was the best thing I could have asked for. Taylor and staff are very easy to talk to. I would highly recommend them to anyone.


  • If I ever have to go through it again I would definetly call Taylor right away. The group was so helpful through my situation and handled everything that needed to be done. They made a stressful situation a stress free situation. With Taylor you dont have to worry about one thing. Definietly would recomend to anyone.

    - TAYLOR G.

  • Efficient, knowledgeable, and friendly.


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Manchin Injury Law Group, Took care of me when I got into a car accident while I was pregnant. Very scary moment for a first time mom but thankfully Manchin Injury Law Group had my back and treated me great. They made me feel as if I was part of their family. My son is now 7 Months Old and very happy and healthy. I’m very thankful for them for helping me through everything and getting me what we deserved. I 100% would recommend them to anyone. If I ever have an accident again they will be my number 1 phone call!


  • The support given helped me to feel like I was included in my personal injury case every step of the way. I was informed about the entire process throughout. It was amazing how quick the turn around time was and I would definitely recommend Attorney Timothy J. Manchin to anyone!


  • Taylor and Kelly worked hard on my case so I didn’t have to. Thanks guys!


  • Excellent experience dealing with Manchin Injury Law. They were very responsive, professional and easy to talk to. I did my homework before I hired a lawyer after my accident and I am so glad I found Manchin Injury Law Group. If you are injured, give them a call!


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Kelly and Taylor did all the hard work so that I didn’t have to. They both cared about my circumstance and got me a nice settlement. Taylor knows what he is doing and I felt comfortable with my case in his hands.


  • Great lawyers. They helped me with a West Virginia case.


  • Such a great experience with Taylor and this firm. Thankful for their diligence and their work on our case. Thank you to all!


  • Had a easy and smooth experience with a great attorney so when you go there make sure you ask for Taylor.


  • My experience at the Manchin Injury Law Group was extremely positive, and I would recommend them to anyone who needs a compassionate and experienced lawyer on their side.


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