Personal Injury Lawyers
Attorney Van O'Steen

Owners Can Help Keep Dogs From Unleashing Costly Difficulties

Van O'Steen

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The most recent addition to my family is a beagle puppy we call Keith.  He was named for Rolling Stones rhythm guitarist Keith Richards.

Keith is a typical puppy.  He is friendly, energetic and rambunctious.  He is not, however, vicious.  I expect he never will be.  I have had too much experience with this breed to be concerned about that.

Some dog owners must be wary of their pet’s propensities for aggression.  For whatever reasons, some dogs are mean.  These animals occasionally attack and bite other animals and people.  When they do, their owners are nearly always liable for the injuries.

For most of us, these legal problems are never a concern.  That does not mean, however, that our dogs cannot create legal difficulties for us.

Many towns, cities and communities have “leash laws.”  These laws generally make it a misdemeanor criminal offense to allow your dog to run loose.  Violators may be fined.

The Arizona legislature and courts also have established civil liability for dog owners whose pets cause damage to property or injuries while running at large.

Otherwise harmless dogs still can cause problems for you if they are not controlled.  For example, if your dog darts into a street and causes an automobile accident, you can be sued by those who may be injured or whose cars were damaged.

You may protect yourself and others in two ways. First, do not let your dog run loose.  Keep it fenced when not on a leash.

Second, in the event your dog escapes your control, insure yourself in advance.  Most homeowner’s and renter’s liability insurance policies provide protection for damage your dog may cause, including dog bites.  I recommend minimum limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence.

If you have questions about the nature and extent of your insurance coverage, direct them to your insurance agent or to a lawyer.

I do not worry about Keith attacking anyone.  It is not in is breeding.

He could, however, harm himself or others while following his nose.  He will not be given the chance, if I can help it.

This hound will remain in my back yard, or on a leash.