Friday, August 10, 2012

Dangerous Dogs and Irresponsible Owners

This question was posed on an attorney site I use. It comes up a lot and allowed me to vent about one of my favorite topics: Dogs and their irresponsible owners. Here is the question and answer:


I have 3 acres of land, and two Rottweilers, what happens if somebody trespasses and gets attacked?

The entire property has a 4' high fence around it with numerous signs warning of dangerous dogs, but sometimes people or other dogs enter my property. Dogs are licensed, current on shots and on my insurance plan. What would happen if somebody entered my property and was attacked?

What if it was a minor who hopped my fence and was mauled? What kind of liability, if any, would I face? 

Answer: 

You would be responsible. You may even have created an "attractive nuisance," depending what is on your land.  But the fact that people and dogs regularly use shows it is attractive, at least for a short cut.  A 4 foot fence will not contain the dogs or keep others out as you know. You are on notice that this is the case, so you have no excuse, especially since you seem to know the dogs are dangerous.

Not only will you liable, but you may lose your dogs or at least have them declared dangerous and have to confine them, which you should do anyway.  Better yet, retrain them to be companion animals, not attack beasts and get an alarm for your property.  Certainly raise the fence. (Check with local zoning for the allowable height.)

Dogs deserve better than running loose all day on 3 acres where they can get into trouble. 

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