Many dog owners believe in the unfounded myth that their dog is allowed one bite before they can be sued.
A person owns a German Shepherd – Sparky. She has owned Sparky since it was a puppy. It is a fun-loving dog that is “good with kids”. Sparky has never bitten anyone.
One day, while at a park, Sparky bites a teenager. The teenager was teasing Sparky. The teenager requires stitches. The owner does not even think about being sued, because he thinks that Sparky is allowed “one free bite”.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The Dog Owner’s Liability Act makes a dog owner liable for the injuries. It makes no difference whether the owner knew the dog might have the propensity to bite someone. Liability may be reduced if the owner can show that the teenager was negligent in his interaction with the dog.
In simple terms, if your dog bites someone, you are liable.
There is an exception if the person injured was trying to break into your home or is on your property committing a criminal act. In this case, you are only liable if keeping the dog was unreasonable for the purposes of personal protection.
In most cases, should your dog injure someone, you will have insurance coverage if you own a home. Most homeowner’s policies provide coverage in these circumstances.