In the United States the amount of people who own dogs continues to grow. In 2017, there were an estimated 90 million dogs owned as pets in the U.S. Dogs provide companionship and protection, but, unfortunately, sometimes a dog can rage out of control and cause extensive physical and psychological damage to its victim. According to the CDC, approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year, and 800,000 of those dog bites result in medical care. Dog bites can cause pain and injury, but they can also spread germs that lead to infections.
Missouri’s Dog Bite Law
Missouri Revised Statutes section 273.036.1 says that where a dog owner’s animal bites someone else, the owner is liable for the resulting injuries if:
- the injury was the result of the dog bite
- the injured person did not provoke the dog to bite
- the injured person was on public property or was lawfully on private property
The statute also states that an owner who is held liable for a dog bite must pay a fine of $1,000.00, in addition to paying any other damages that the injured person can prove in the case, such as medical bills or property damage.
Missouri’s dog bite statute is a “strict liability” statute. This means that it applies even if the owner took care to restrain the dog or otherwise keep the attack from happening.
The Missouri statute stated above specifically refers to dog bites, not to other injuries a dog might cause. However, many other types of dog behavior, such as jumping up and knocking a person over, can also cause injuries.
To receive compensation for a non-bite injury caused by a dog, the injured person will typically need to bring a negligence claim against the owner of the animal. The injured person will have to show the court that the dog’s owner didn’t use reasonable care and training and that this is what led to the injuries.
Any dog can bite; thus, it is important to learn how to enjoy dogs without getting injured. There are many reasons why a dog may become aggressive, but the most common reasons for dog attacks are if the dog is provoked, feels threatened, or is poorly trained. In Missouri, owners and possessors of animals have a legal duty to control their pets.
Get in touch with us today if you need representation in a dog attack case, or if you have any questions about dog bites in Missouri. Call us at (417) 626-9880 or fill out the contact form on our website.