Missouri Dog Bite Law
Dog bites can cause severe physical and emotional scars for victims – regardless of age. Any breed of dog can cause significant harm during an attack. Victims of dog attacks often find themselves seeking medical care, physical therapy and psychological counseling to deal with the physical and emotional aftermath of an attack. Dog bite victims sometimes require multiple surgeries to repair scars from puncture wounds and rips. In some cases, scarring or disfigurement is permanent.
In Missouri, dog owners are responsible for the injuries and damages their dog causes. Obtaining fair compensation is often an uphill battle. An experienced St. Louis dog bite attorney will fight for your rights and help you secure maximum compensation for your losses.
What Missouri Law Says
When it comes to dog attacks, Missouri enforces a strict liability statute (Missouri Revised Statutes 273.036.1). This means when a dog bites without provocation, whether on public or private property, the dog owner is “strictly liable” for the damages suffered by victims. It doesn’t matter if the dog had exhibited vicious behavior on a prior occasion or if the owner was aware of the animal’s prior viciousness. Dog owners are responsible for their dog, whether the dog has ever bit anyone before or not.
It is important to document where the dog attack took place when evaluating a dog bite claim. If the attack occurred on public property, such as a sidewalk or in a park, the dog owner can be held accountable for the attack. Victims can also pursue compensation for dog bite injuries that occur on private property where they were invited or where they were present legally. In other words, as long as you are not trespassing or in the process of breaking the law on someone’s private property, you should be able to pursue compensation for your losses.
Dog Leash Laws in Missouri
Throughout the state of Missouri, there are many towns and counties that enforce dog leash laws. If you are the owner of a dog, it is important to know what the laws in your community are and whether or not there is a leash law in place. Even if your community does not have a leash law, it is still unlawful to let your animal run wild. Letting your dog run at large could cause you to incur dog bite liability. Dogs that are left to roam the streets put themselves and others in danger. If your dog injures another person or destroys their property, you are liable for the damages and the injuries that have occurred.
Missouri Dog Bite Law Law: Ordinance 210.220
In the city of Richmond Heights, MO for example, there is a leash law. Ordinance 210.220 states that no person shall permit an animal (dog, cat or otherwise) to run at large unless that animal is under adequate restraint. Restraint is defined as a leash no more than 6 ft. in length.
Not every community chooses to impose leash laws, but several have laws against actually owning a dangerous breed of dog. Springfield, Missouri, for example, has an ordinance that actually outlaws the ownership of pit bull dogs. Independence, Missouri also bans the ownership of pit bull dogs. Owners who already had a registered pit bull before 2006 are required to have liability insurance in the event their dog injures someone. These dog bite laws are an attempt to control the number of dog bite injuries, claims, and lawsuits.
Understanding Your Rights in Missouri
Dog bite victims need to understand their rights because dog bite injuries are expensive and often traumatizing. Many victims require emergency treatment and even hospitalization. Some require surgery and rehabilitation to recover emotionally after an attack. Many victims suffer post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD after a dog attack. Victims also tend to take time off work to recover physically and emotionally.
A St. Louis personal injury attorney skilled in handling dog attack cases will help you recover everything you are entitled to. Financial support is an important part of a dog bite victim’s road to recovery. If you or a loved one has been injured in a St. Louis dog attack, contact Page Law at (314) 322-8515 for a free consultation.