Model Dog Bite Laws

This section of Dog Bite Law contains model laws for the prevention of dog bites and the protection of dog bite victims. These model laws can be used as is, or as the basis for new or improved laws in your community, county or state.

Introduction to the Model Dog Bite Laws

The best protection against dog bites is a combination of three things: well-crafted laws, governmental policies that support enforcing the laws, and well-funded animal control departments. The best well-crafted laws are the Model Dog Bite Laws found at Dog Bite Law and consist of three kinds of laws that focus on three different things:

  • Model Dangerous Dog Law
  • Model Irresponsible Dog Owner Law
  • Model Dog Bite Statute

The purpose of a dangerous dog law is to identify dogs whose behavior is intolerable to the community’s safety, set forth conditions of confinement of those dogs to reduce the risk of injuries to people and possibly other animals and provide due process to the owners of the dogs. In a word, these laws are to take the bad dogs off the streets.

The purpose of an irresponsible dog owner Law is to identify people who create unjustifiable risks for the public as well as dogs and other animals. For example, this law would identify a person who frequently has a dog off-leash and impose a fine and possibly other conditions to prompt that person to conduct himself or herself properly.

The purpose of a model dog bite statute is to give dog bite victims a way to be reimbursed for medical expenses and compensated for pain, suffering, loss of income, and any other damages. Modern statutes take into consideration the realities that exist nowadays as opposed to the old laws which allow a person to keep a dog without liability unless the dog previously bit someone. Under those old laws, which are referred to as the “one bite law” and the “first bite free” law, you can have a bad dog that bites someone and then replace it with another bad dog that bites someone, and keep doing that indefinitely without ever having to compensate anyone.

Those three kinds of laws are enforced in administrative proceedings and civil lawsuits but there also should be criminal laws against dog fighting, negligently maintaining a dog that has been trained to be vicious or is known to be vicious, and violating animal control laws (such as leash laws) more than once.