Area pet owners need to know and understand the relevant dog bite laws. Unfortunately, many do not. For these folks, the serious nature of the offense doesn’t hit them until after their dog bites a person or even another animal and by that time, it can then be too late.
To avoid getting into trouble, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the law in Philadelphia with regards to your dog and potential of it biting or being bitten.
State Dog Law
Pennsylvania has a general dog confinement law. All pets must be confined securely to prevent them from harming themselves, people and other animals. An owner who fails to keep their animal in such a manner could be found guilty of legal negligence.
Dogs have to be kept in a secure area, such as a gated backyard. When in public, they should always be held by a collar and chain. There are only a few exceptions to the law and those involve animals being used for hunting, dog shows, training exercises or performances. Otherwise, every single dog in the state must be confined.
Why the need for a dog confinement law?
The authorities wrote this law to make it easier to place the blame for dog bites. If your animal is properly secured then there is no way it can cause harm. That is unless the victim invaded their space.
However, the theory does not always work in reality. For a variety of reasons, people and animals can come in contact with your dog and can get bitten.
What happens after a dog bites?
If your dog bites someone or attacks an animal, the authorities may take it into custody. This is a virtual arrest.
A judge will review the case facts. During this time of quarantine, you will have to pay for the costs of incarceration, including food. If deemed a vicious animal, the judge could even order your dog euthanized.
One Bite Rule
The state has a one-bite rule. In effect, a dog that has bitten previously presents a foreseeable risk. The next time the dog gets into trouble, the owner can expect to be held liable.
An accident lawyer in Philadelphia PA can help defend against the one-bite rule. In most cases, this legal representative will argue that the victim was trespassing on the property or provoked the dog.
Criminal Charges Possible
Victims have up to two years following the incident to file charges. Any owner who has a dog known to be guilty of attacking people or other animals can be charged with “harboring a vicious animal,” a misdemeanor crime.
Get Legal Advice
If your dog has bitten someone or you are the victim of an attack, consult with an experienced accident lawyer in Philadelphia PA today.