Can My Dog Attack an Intruder?

Dog bite statutes

The dog bite statutes do not include burglars and other types of trespassers when it comes to receiving compensation for a dog bite injury.

There is only one way a burglar or trespasser can receive any compensation for a dog bite and it is under the common law. Common law states that if the homeowner has a dog that is known to bite then they have to claim the liability.

It is known as the “One Bite Rule”. It states that if any domesticated animal of any kind bites someone you are liable.

Suing for injuries

The only way that a burglar or trespasser can sue for injuries is to be able to prove negligence. For the most part, the courts will side with the homeowner. Unless, of course, the house or dog was especially dangerous.

When someone, such as a burglar, decides to step on the property they know they are putting their selves at risk. Therefore, they are willingly accepting any dangers which could happen while there.

Dog warning signs

It is a good idea to put up signs about dogs or dogs. There are some states where the wrong sign can cause you problems. The most commonly recommended signs are “Beware of Dog” or “Guard Dogs will Attack”.

In some states, it is the same as saying my dog will bite. It is best just to post a sign saying there is a dog on the premises. Signs are a good idea for the most part. First, it might scare off any possible intruder if they cannot see a dog anywhere in sight or do not view it as dangerous.

Posted signs help to lessen the liability to the homeowner. It removes doubt the burglar was unaware they could be attacked upon entering. The warning signs clearly let them know there is a dog on the property.

Who is a trespasser?

A trespasser is someone who enters onto a person’s property or land without permission. Just because a person does not have permission to enter does not mean they are a trespasser. There is what is implied consent. It is when the person, such as a salesperson, has implied permission to come to the door.

When there are signs posted which state no trespassers allowed then the implied consent is taken away.

Standard of care owed trespassers

The Standard of care in legal terms means how much care and attention a person gives to the property is taken into consideration under certain circumstances.

If the homeowner does not meet the standard of care which is appropriate to the situation, they may be negligent. Which means you will be liable for any damages which were suffered.

If the homeowner takes reasonable care to keep up regular maintenance on the property then they are not liable for injuries.

What is reasonable care?

When measures are taken to the property is where it will not cause danger to anyone then it is reasonable to care. Just make sure the dangers you know about or should know about are taken care of. If you take care of foreseeable injury issues caused by animals.

An exception to the general rule: Dogs with a dangerous predisposition

If the dog has a predisposition to violence then it is a major exception to the general standard of care. If you have any idea the dog has a tendency to be violent then you will be liable for any injuries.

Even if you are not negligent you will be strictly liable, but it is subject to certain defenses. Therefore, if the dog has shown violent tendencies you will be held liable.

What are the dangerous propensities?

Dangerous propensities mean you know the dog has shown characteristics of being a threat of causing any kind of injury to any human being.

It these characteristics are not directed towards humans then the dog will not be considered dangerous. Unfortunately, the breed of the dog can be used to determine if the dog has any dangerous tendencies.

Exception to the exception: Taking precautionary measures

There is a major exception to the exception. If you take a sufficient amount of precautionary measures and the dog has violent tendencies then you will not be held liable.

When the dog is on a chain in the yard and the trespasser knows about the dog then the trespasser is putting themselves in harm’s way.

Even if the dog has a predisposition to violence, they cannot recover damages if they get bit. The exception to the exception only applies in rare cases.

Tips for safety

  • Keep the dog at a safe distance from other people or kids. You need to make sure that your dog does not feel threatened.
  • An introduction is needed. Encourage people to extend their hands to let the dog sniff it before trying to pet the dog.
  • When playing with your dog do not let the play get aggressive. They do not always know their own strength, so train them to play nicely with people and other animals.
  • You need to know when your dog needs some time alone. If they are sleeping do not let anyone bother them. If they are eating or getting a drink do not let anyone, especially kids bother them.
  • Watch when the dog is around kids or other dogs. Kids can play rough without realizing it sometimes and dogs get touchy at times. Dogs can decide to fight at any moment without any kind of notice. So be careful.

Top breeds blacklisted by insurance companies

  • ┬áPit Bull Terrier
  • Staffordshire Terrier
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd
  • Presa Canario
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Akita
  • Wolf-hybrid
  • Mastiff
  • Cane Corso
  • Great Dane
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Siberian Husky

These dogs are considered to be violent characteristically.

They get a bad rap from law enforcement and insurance companies. They can be as cute and cuddly as teddy bears but people still consider them violent.

1 thought on “Can My Dog Attack an Intruder?

  1. Kristina Greenwell

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