Dog parks are designated areas in cities and some private properties where dog owners can bring their dogs to run around freely and interact with other dogs. These are usually fenced-in areas that have dirt, grass, or other surfaces. Some dog parks provide amenities like drinking water bowls and dog toys.
In most cases, there will be signs stating that dog owners assume certain risks by bringing their dog to such a park, especially if there is play and interaction between dogs. Thus, some minor injuries to a dog might be reasonably expected in a dog park, such as scratches or minor abrasions from running on grass or dirt.
However, more serious incidents in a dog park such as dog bites or dog attacks can raise some legal issues. This is especially true for certain types of dogs such as Rottweiler or pit bull breeds, which might be under certain regulations depending on local laws and ordinances. Dog park attacks can cause damage to other dogs, as well as the dog owners who are present.
Who Can be Held Liable for Dog Park Attack?
As mentioned, dog owners who visit such parks assume various risks, and so the park owner or maintainers typically are not liable for attacks or bites. On the other hand, the owner of a dog that attacks a person or another dog can often be held liable for damages due to the attack.
Liability may be influenced by various factors such as:
- The size, breed, and behavioral disposition of the dog (as well as the size and breed of the other dog, or the size of the human victim)
- Disobeying designated dog area instructions (for instance, some dog parks require smaller or “inexperienced” dogs to be in a different area than other
- Local ordinances regarding muzzles, collars, leashes, and other similar pet implements
- Whether the dog was trained or not
- Whether the owner knew or should have known that their dog had a history of attacking people or other animals
Thus, a dog owner can sometimes be held liable for negligence or recklessness, for instance if they brought their dog to a dog park knowing that their dog had a propensity to attack. Even greater liability and possible criminal charges can be imposed if the owner instructs or commands their dog to attack another dog or a person.
Are There any Legal Remedies for a Dog Park Attack Incident?
Dog attacks can be serious and can lead to serious injury of a person or dog. In some cases, death can even result from a dog attack, especially an attack on a smaller dog or a child. Legal action may sometimes be required to remedy a dog attack dispute. In such cases, a monetary damages award may be issued to the plaintiff. These damages can cover costs such as medical expenses, veterinarian bills, and other expenses. As mentioned, cases involving an intentionally commanded attack can lead to criminal charges as well. State pet laws may vary from place to place.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with a Dog Park Attack Claim?
Dog attacks can lead to serious injuries, including lacerations other similar injuries. You may need to hire a personal injury lawyer in your area if you or someone you know needs assistance with an injury issue. Your attorney can provide you with legal guidance for your claim, and can research the laws to determine what your options are. Also, if you need to appear in court, your lawyer can be on hand to represent you through that process.