Defenses for dog owners –Part 5

Posted by on Jul 4, 2019 in Questions and Answers | 0 comments

Dog Bite Liability Defenses

Dog owners have some defenses they can use to defend themselves against claims.

  • No proof of ownership. Just because a dog is on a person’s property does not mean the property owner owns the dog. Sometimes stray dogs roam on other people’s property. The person who has control of the dog is considered to be the owner. This can be identified by animal control records and veterinarians.
  • Victim was trespassing. If the victim was on the dog owner’s property unlawfully at the time of the attack, then the person was not a guest and therefore is not covered under the law.
  • Victim was harassing or provoking the dog. If the victim was hitting the dog, attacking it with an object or otherwise annoying it right before the attack occurred, then the dog owner is not liable.
  • Victim was not bit by the dog. Dog bite laws in California apply to dog bites only. The bite does not have to penetrate the skin, but it must be an actual bite nonetheless. If the dog jumped on the person, tripped over the person or scratched the person, but never bit the person, then that is not enough to be covered under the state’s dog bite law.

It is important to know that those who work directly with dogs—such as veterinarians, pet sitters, dog trainers and dog groomers—typically are unable to receive compensation for injuries caused by dog bites, since that risk is inherent in their occupations. However, there are four conditions in which they may be able to receive compensation:

  1. The victim was bitten before or after working with the dog, but not during the course of employment.
  2. The victim was employed by the dog owner.
  3. The owner knew that the dog had bitten before, but did not disclose that information to the person handling the dog or anyone else in the company.
  4. The dog owner signed a contract making him or her liable for any injuries caused by the dog.

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