What are the legal consequences of a dog bite?

When a dog bites another person, whether the dog is on public property or on its owner's private property, the dog's owner can potentially face a number of legal consequences. When a dog causes serious personal injury or the death of another person, the dog can be removed, quarantined and may be euthanized upon an order of a judge.

If an owner knew or should have known that his or her dog had a propensity for viciousness but failed to take appropriate steps to protect others, an injured dog bite victim can fully recover all associated damages and losses incurred as a result. Owners whose dogs had no history of biting still may be required to pay victims, with seriously injured ones being able to fully recover and those with more minor injuries limited to medical expenses.

Pennsylvania has an animal confinement law that people with pets are mandated to follow. Under the law, all pets are required to be securely confined on their owner's property or, if out in public with their owner, to be on a leash and collar at all times. This statewide law is designed to help protect others from potential injuries sustained by loose, attacking animals.

Despite the animal confinement law, many people continue to fall victim to vicious dogs each year due to the negligence of the pet's owner. When a person suffers serious personal injury as a result of a dog attack, he or she may be able to fully recover all suffered losses from the dog's owner. Dog bites can be very serious, causing serious injuries, maiming, disfigurement and even death. Dog owners have a responsibility to keep their animals secure and to protect other people from injury as a result of their dog attacking.

Source: FindLaw, "Philadelphia Dog Bites: The Basics", November 04, 2014

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