For most dog owners, their pets are family. You watch them grow up, feed them, train them and take care of them just like you would a child.

In general, most dog owners respect laws related to pets and understand their duty to obey the laws that are meant to keep others safe. If another dog attacks yours, you want to have an understanding of the state laws that could affect your case. In this article, we’ll look at common legal terminology, dog bite questions, and more.

Dog Owners’ Legal Duty of Care

“Duty of care” is a legal phrase that means an obligation to be careful not to cause harm to others.

Dog owners are held to a “duty of care” to keep their dog from hurting another or damaging personal property. If you, your family member, or your dog have been injured by a dog, you should seek immediate medical attention and contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your eligibility for compensation.

Legal Terms to Know When Dealing With Dog Attacks

It’s very important to look up the animal control laws in your city or state. You should also be familiar with a few legal terms you’ll run into when it comes to dog injury claims.


Negligence happens in dog attacks when a dog owner fails to act safely. Violating a state or city animal control law is always considered negligent. For example, if your city has a leash law and a pet owner walks his dog without a leash, then he could be held responsible if anyone is injured by his dog. 


Liability simply means accountability, or responsibility. A negligent dog owner is financially responsible for harm caused by their dog.

Damages for victims of dog-on-dog aggression should include reimbursement for veterinary bills, dog medications, and kennel or animal hospital fees while the dog is recovering.

In cases of fatal dog attacks, damages can extend to include the replacement cost of a deceased dog.

As much as we love our pets like our family members, under the law, they are considered personal property. That is why unfortunately, liability does not extend to the mental anguish or emotional distress a dog owner suffers due to their dog’s injury or death.

If You or Your Pet Have Been Attacked By Dog, Speak to Our Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys

Since the laws surrounding these injuries can be complicated, we always recommend speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney after a dog attack.

Sticklen Dreyer Tinney Law Firm assists dog bite victims across the Joplin and Columbia metropolitan area on a contingency fee basis, so we don’t collect any fees or payments until after your case is won. Please contact us today to set up your free initial consultation.