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Old 04-03-2008, 06:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default "BEWARE OF DOG" signs

[quote]Originally Posted By: Sherush
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Originally Posted By: Moonfire
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Originally Posted by zyp
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Quote: In Florida you need to have sign.
Not necessarily. In our county, at least, if you have a "Beware of Dog" sign puts you at more liability. At least, that is what we were told by the Sheriff's department.
My husband is a Toronto Police Officer and told me at least here in Ontario if you have a sign "Beware of Dog" and your dog bites someone you can be charged because you know you dog is agressive. If you don't have a sign, then you don't get charged.
All this talk about the signs being a good idea vs. a bad one, is just making me shake my head. When I was a teen, I bought a "BEWARE OF DOG" sign, and put it in the front window of our families home. I told my mom that it would deter people from breaking in. We had two dogs, a Rough Collie, and a Pomeranian. Whenever friends or family asked laughingly which dog they had to "BEWARE" of, I always said the Pom. It was a joke, cuz neither one of the dogs would have done more than bark.

Now I have a dog that I truly believe would defend me if the need arose, and I have to worry about whether putting a sign up will make me more liable? Aside from calling the cops, how can I find out what kind of area I live in?

It's crazy that our dogs can't even defend us without threat of being put to sleep.
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: "BEWARE OF DOG" signs

I used to have a BEWARE sign on my front door. Then there was an altercation where my insane elderly neighbor's nephew threatened to kill me with a hammer when I asked him to PLEASE GET OFF MY LAWN because he was making my dog crazy. Local PD told me it was a liability to have a BEWARE sign.

Still have signs on the gates across my driveway. They're nicely painted wood signs that say 'Guard Dog On Duty' and 'Doomed are all that enter here'. Usually people laugh at the Doomed.
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: "BEWARE OF DOG" signs

The lesson learned on this thread is : check your local laws.

Florida -
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Quote:Florida dog law

LIABILITY STATUTE
In Florida, dog owners are liable for any injury their dog inflicts on a person. The owner of a dog that bites a person in a public place, or bites a person while lawfully in a private place, including the owner’s property, is liable for damages, regardless of the dog’s former viciousness and regardless of the owner’s knowledge of viciousness. If, however, the victim’s negligence contributed to the biting incident, the owner’s liability will be reduced by the percentage that the victim’s negligence contributed to the bite.

This statute also contains another exception. If at the time of the injury, the owner displayed in a prominent place on his property a sign, easily readable, that includes the words, “Bad Dog,” the dog owner will not be liable, unless the injuries were caused by the owner’s negligence, or if the person bitten is under six years old.
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: "BEWARE OF DOG" signs

Quote:
Originally Posted By: zypThe lesson learned on this thread is : check your local laws.

Florida -
Quote:
Quote:Florida dog law

LIABILITY STATUTE
In Florida, dog owners are liable for any injury their dog inflicts on a person. The owner of a dog that bites a person in a public place, or bites a person while lawfully in a private place, including the owner’s property, is liable for damages, regardless of the dog’s former viciousness and regardless of the owner’s knowledge of viciousness. If, however, the victim’s negligence contributed to the biting incident, the owner’s liability will be reduced by the percentage that the victim’s negligence contributed to the bite.

This statute also contains another exception. If at the time of the injury, the owner displayed in a prominent place on his property a sign, easily readable, that includes the words, “Bad Dog,” the dog owner will not be liable, unless the injuries were caused by the owner’s negligence, or if the person bitten is under six years old.
Ah, thank you. I will remember that next time someone tries to tell me different.
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: "BEWARE OF DOG" signs

"Beware" signs may or may not contribute. (I've worked a lot of dog bite cases and I've never encountered a Beware Of Dog sign being a factor one way or another. They sell them at PetSmart, Home Depot, Target, etc. That's what people buy because that's what's available. Maybe somewhere they're considered a big deal, but I've never worked in any locale where an owner has been penalized for it if a bite occurred. But that's my experience. I can't speak for the entire USA, of course).

In many states, dog bite laws are strict liability unless certain very specific conditions are met. So if it's strict liability, it's strict liability (so, I guess, why NOT put up a sign?) The following are those states that have strict liability statutes, according to the Michigan State School of Law.

http://www.animallaw.info/articles/q...slstatutes.htm

Provocations is often a condition, but if you're not home or outside when it occurs, you can't prove provocation.

Here is a state map so you can look up your own state: http://www.animallaw.info/articles/a...atedoglaws.htm

(I don't like dogbitelaw.com because the guy that owns it is an attorney who makes money off dog bite cases. I don't think he's particularly unbiased, so I don't trust his information.)

As Anne points out, local jurisdictions can modify state law somewhat.

My feeling is that if a sign keeps some moron off your property to begin with, well, that's a good thing. No Trespassing signs are excellent. You'll note that "Anywhere a person has a lawful right to be" is a phrase that shows up a lot in the strict liability laws (although these statutes aren't quoted verbatim). So make it clear that a stranger doesn't have the right to be in your back yard. Then you can certainly scream to high heaven that the police should be filing charges against the person who intruded, if something does occur.

I like Dog on Premises signs (PetSmart sells them) because they're neutral. Strangers technically do have a right to be in your front yard. The postal carrier, the UPS guy, the Fed Ex woman, even the annoying folks trying to sell new siding, Avon, or religion -- technically, your property has to be safe for access for people with a reasonable purpose for being there. And "reasonable" is usually defined pretty broadly by the courts. Just because you don't want new siding, doesn't mean they don't have a right to be there. They're providing a service just by offering to sell you their products. I know. It's crazy. But that's how courts have viewed it.

So my Dog On Premises sign tells people I have dogs (which are never in the front yard without me). And when they ring the doorbell, they hear loud barking. It's a pretty clear signal. The signs on my back fence (and the fact that those gates are locked) make it further obvious that folks aren't welcome back there.

But if I lived in Anne's jurisdiction, I'd have BAD DOG signs all around my property!

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Old 04-03-2008, 08:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: "BEWARE OF DOG" signs

gads I dont want to have to put Bad dog on my fences!!! guess have no choice.
My GSD is 8 yrs old and Ive always been confused on the fence sign issue, I DO have a locked gate and 6 ft fence but when could I know when some idiot would decide to climb it? Guess I will get some Bad dog signs
Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: "BEWARE OF DOG" signs

We have beware signs on the gate (and on the fence, on the other side of the house). We put these up shortly after we moved into this house, we only had Gunner and Jade (the wonder-mutt) at the time. The neighbor's kid (we called him "the screamer", because that's what he did all of the time) let himself into our backyard once while the dogs were out. They did not hurt him, just jumped on him. He screamed, as usual. We put a lock on the gate after that, and added the signs. We still have them up, until I can find something that I like better. Might have to go with the "no trespassing" signs. We do have a sign that reads "I can make it to the fence in 2.3 seconds....can you?" with a GSD silhouette....but we don't have it outside.
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: "BEWARE OF DOG" signs

Unless your dog is a "bad dog" why would you post that? Then you have already told the whole world your dog is a bad and if your dog is NOT Bad, I thing you just screwed up. Is it bad? Has it ever bitten anyone?
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: "BEWARE OF DOG" signs

We do have one bad apple, that's why we keep the signs up, and also as a warning. She hasn't bitten anyone yet, but has tried.
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: "BEWARE OF DOG" signs

Posting a sign that simply says Bad Dog is law in FL because it’s supposed to be less confusing to non-English speaking folks then a Beware sign. Generally, the more basic the Beware sign the less of a chance the owner will have an issue with posting it. Humorous ones liked- ‘We can make it to the fence in three seconds, can you?’ - can be contested in court.

Generally speaking- posting a Beware sign doesn’t cause you any more legal labiality then not posting one. The only way this comes back to get you is if you post the signs and then fail to contain the dog on your property.

A good general overview of Dog laws in the US in book form is Every Dog’s Legal Guide by Mary Randolph. I like it because it has real examples with the overview and covers other issues like vet labiality, boarding, travel, and other interesting dog laws across the US.
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