Does a Liability-Free Zone exist for pets?
Approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, half of which are children. Dog attacks can happen virtually anywhere and under any circumstance. When they do occur and someone else is injured, regardless if they initiated contact, as a dog owner, you will be held liable by the injured party.
If you are a dog owner, is there such a thing as a safe haven for you and your dog? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is nearly never yes. Even in an environment created and reserved for dog-dog/dog-human interactions such as a dog park, you are responsible for your pet’s behavior. While dog parks may be a place where the city suspends its leash laws, the laws that govern liability for human or animal injury still apply.
What happens if your dog attacks while inside your home? If there is a guest present and they are injured in the attack, you are still liable, even if the attack occurs in your own home. While there is very little law that directly applies to in-home dog attack injuries, most courts will side with the predominant opinions that point to laying the burden on the owner of the aggressive dog. As long as another person is injured in an attack involving your pet, you as the pet owner will be held responsible, no matter what the setting.
If you or your dog was attacked, whether at a dog park or at someone’s home, the law is on your side. You need to contact a lawyer immediately so that you and the lawyer can begin to collect sufficient evidence to bring suit against the other dog owner. You will need to locate eye-witnesses and get medical records from your doctor and your veterinarian. The sooner you ask a lawyer for help, the more likely the case will settle in your favor.