What does it mean when one of your neighbors post signs saying that they have a dangerous dog?

You need to be cautious. The odds are good that your neighbor’s dog has already bitten someone. In Pennsylvania, the owners of dogs that have been deemed dangerous by the state are required to post notices on their property warning others about the animal.

What does it take to be designated a dangerous dog? Attacking a human without provocation is one reason that a dog can be labeled dangerous. The animal can also be given that label if it slips off an owner’s property and wounds or kills another domesticated animal. Finally, dogs that have been used during a crime are automatically given that designation — on the theory that they’ve generally been trained to be aggressive.

Once a dog is on the list of dangerous dogs — which is available to the public — owners are required to post notices on their property to warn others about the animal. Owners must also pay a special licensing fee each year and buy $50,000 worth of liability insurance in case the dog attacks again.

Dog bites are a very common injury, and many people who suffer what they believe are only minor wounds end up with major problems. Dogs generally carry a number of types of bacteria in their mouths, including the kind that can cause E-coli and staph infections. These put humans at risk of devastating injuries after any bite, no matter how small, that breaks the skin.

If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, seek treatment even if you think the wound is minor. Document all your expenses and consider all of your legal options for seeking compensation to help with your recovery.