Pennsylvanias dog law requires pet?owners?to keep their dogs under control at all times, whether that is by confining their dogs on their property through fences or cages or restraining their dogs in public on a leash to keep them from straying. Pennsylvania holds dog owners responsible for damages and?injuries?that occur from dogs wandering freely. It also contains owner liability in the statute for dogs with a known history of aggressive behavior that have bitten someone.
Many dog bite cases involve the pets of family or friends that have not bitten before, to anyones knowledge. Victims of dogs that have never bitten before are also divided into subcategories and can win compensation based on how badly they were injured.
A severe dog bite injury is defined as one that causes broken bones, fractures or disfigurement in the form of lacerations that may require multiple stitches, sutures of even cosmetic surgery. A victim who has been severely injured by a dog will have to prove that the attack was not provoked.
A dog bite victim who was not severely injured is still entitled to compensation for medical expenses, to be paid fully by the pet owner or his/her insurance company. Any cost to the victim as a result of a dog bite is available, with the only proof required that the defendant owned the dog that bit.
There is also a doctrine of negligence per se enshrined in Pennsylvania dog bite law. This could apply to situations in which a dog was not properly restrained and may have broken free, perhaps leading it to wander onto another persons property and attack a dog or person. In this case, the victim will need to prove that the dog owners were negligent in order to win dog bite injury claims.
Dangerous dogs also have their own classification under Pennsylvanias dangerous dogs law, which protects both humans and other dogs who may have been attacked without provocation. Pennsylvania law enforcement authorities can charge the owners of dangerous dogs who have attacked with harboring a dangerous dog if the dog severely injured a person or pet on public or private property without provocation, was used in the commission of a crime, and if the dog had a history of attacking people or other domestic animals without provocation or had a propensity to do so. The owners of such dogs are guilty of a misdemeanor in the first degree upon conviction.
In all cases it is prohibited to either fail to keep the dog confined on the owners premises, firmly secured by a collar, a chain or some other restraint to keep it from wandering off the owners property, or to be under the reasonable control of the dog owner while out in public.
What happens to the dog? A dog that has caused severe injury or death to a human or domestic animal may be removed from the owners care through the immediate confiscation by a police officer or state dog warden and placed in quarantine and possibly euthanized if determined appropriate by a judge. The cost of quarantine and euthanasia will be paid for by the dangerous dogs owner, according to Pennsylvania law.
Landlords can also be held liable for injuries caused by animals owned by the tenant, especially if the landlord was aware of the presence of a dangerous dog and had the right to exercise control or remove the animal from the premises.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is charged with administering and enforcing the dog laws in the state, and it maintains a web site for the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.
Whether you were the victim of a dog who had bitten for the first time, or were the victim of a dangerous dog that should have been restrained and attacked unprovoked, a dog bite lawyer in Pennsylvania can help you exercise your full legal rights in a timely and efficient manner. A dog bite lawyer is the expert you need, no matter what kind of dog bite victim you are.