Dogs are supposed to be people’s best friend. That might work for dog owners, but it doesn’t automatically work for everyone else, especially if the dog in question has a habit of snapping and biting a lot. A dog bites for a variety of reasons. Unlike humans, their communication is a robust language of body behavior and visual presentation.
Their actual barking and whining are maybe five percent of the dog’s language. So, when the animal growls, bares teeth, nips and outright bites, all of those actions are communicating a lot of information. Unfortunately, as humans, what impacts us immediately is the seem violence and harm the dog can cause.
Dog Owner Best Practices in Colorado
Dog owners have a standing responsibility to control their dogs, train them and keep them from harming others when it could be prevented. Some common sense involves leashing the animal any time it is out in public near other humans, training and educating the dog on not being violent early in life and instead acclimating the animal to people, keeping the dog vaccinated, and avoiding immediate contact with strangers the dog has never met before.
If the dog is a medium to large size, it also helps to make sure any visitors are fully aware by signs that a dog is present.
Dog Bite Legal Accountability
In addition to the above, which is really just good practice for any dog owner, the liability for a dog bite or harm in Colorado is defined in Colorado’s state statute, Section 13-21-124. In this legal code, a dog owner can be held liable for a dog bite if the victim was allowed to be on the owner’s property and the bite creates a serious injury or even death.
There is no debating the matter; it’s an automatic responsibility under a strict liability law. The only exceptions to a dog bite responsibility happens where:
- The victim wasn’t allowed on the property and trespassed anyways
- The property was visibly marked, and the bite happened on the property
- The dog was a police animal and operating in a law enforcement activity
- The victim provoked or attacked the dog first
- A veterinarian or vet technician was the victim while handling the dog during vet care
- The dog was working on the property of the owner (herding for example)
A Seemingly Clear Case is Not a Done Deal
As attorneys at Killian Law and other legal offices know, dog bite cases are anything but a slam dunk. Where a dog owner needs to be held responsible for a dog attack injury, the best thing for the victim to do is to have legal representation pursue the matter in court. Every case is different, even with Colorado’s strict liability laws.
Details, insurance coverage, circumstances, witnesses and the dog’s history can all make a difference. So, don’t try to go at injury accountability alone. Bring in a legal dog bite expert from the start.