Law regarding dogs defending you or your home. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Law regarding dogs defending you or your home.

Hello everyone,

I have had a lingering question for months now in regards to laws in my area concerning dogs and property. I have heard that a dog biting someone who has invaded your home makes YOU liable, and you can be sued or your dog can be seized for biting/defending your home. I thought this was ludicrous, so I decided to ask those who know best!

I took my 8 month old pup Hunter for a walk around the block a few moments ago and ran into the Canine Unit which was parked in the mall parking lot. They stopped me to ask if they could pet Hunter, which I VERY HAPPILY said yes! I told them I absolutely loved the Canine Unit, wanted to be a K9 Officer when I was young, and told them that Hunter is from working-lines and is being trained in Schutzhund. After a small chat, I asked them about laws regarding dogs and property.

I gave the Officer the following scenario:

Someone breaks in to my home or enters entirely uninvited, my dog bites that person because he was defending my property/me, am I liable and can anything happen to my dog?

The Officer says I am NOT liable and as long as my dog has his rabies vaccine, nothing would be done to me or my dog. Anyone who enters my property uninvited does so "at their own risk" and I have the right to allow my dog to defend me and my home. I cannot be sued for my dog biting someone while on my property (again, uninvited), and my dog will not be seized. He said to take the dog out of the situation, it is just like me punching somebody square in the face and holding them until police arrives. It is considered personal protection.

I thought I would share that information, that is how it works here in Ontario, Canada!

SG S-Hunter vom Geistwasser CA CGN TT ATD (Service Dog, Retired Airport Wildlife Control K9)
Zenna vom Geistwasser NTD


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post #2 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 02:14 PM
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Here, it's not really a matter of clear cut laws. Anyone can sue anyone over just about anything. The difference is whether or not a judge will hear the case, and if so, how it will be settled. Technically, I am liable for what my dogs do on my property. If someone gets bit on my property, they can still sue me. Now a judge might not rule in their favor or might just throw the case out. The dog is a liability just like having a trampoline, a swingset, a pool, etc. All these things can get you sued and often mean higher home owner's insurance.
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post #3 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
Here, it's not really a matter of clear cut laws. Anyone can sue anyone over just about anything.
Exactly, I remember hearing about a man that broke into someone's home and broke his arm doing whatever he was doing and he sued the owner and won.

Lauren

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post #4 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
Here, it's not really a matter of clear cut laws. Anyone can sue anyone over just about anything. The difference is whether or not a judge will hear the case, and if so, how it will be settled. Technically, I am liable for what my dogs do on my property. If someone gets bit on my property, they can still sue me. Now a judge might not rule in their favor or might just throw the case out. The dog is a liability just like having a trampoline, a swingset, a pool, etc. All these things can get you sued and often mean higher home owner's insurance.
That's frightening... I guess laws are incredibly different in various locations. I wonder it if is a state vs state thing or country vs country thing. Is that typical in states across America?

SG S-Hunter vom Geistwasser CA CGN TT ATD (Service Dog, Retired Airport Wildlife Control K9)
Zenna vom Geistwasser NTD


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post #5 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 02:34 PM
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That sounds so exciting!

-Cassie
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post #6 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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That sounds so exciting!
Sorry?

SG S-Hunter vom Geistwasser CA CGN TT ATD (Service Dog, Retired Airport Wildlife Control K9)
Zenna vom Geistwasser NTD


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post #7 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 02:37 PM
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That's frightening... I guess laws are incredibly different in various locations. I wonder it if is a state vs state thing or country vs country thing. Is that typical in states across America?
It varies state to state.

ADCH Mikko (USDAA) SCH-B; (NADAC) EAC, EJC, TN-E, TG-E, VerO; (AKC) NAJ, CGC; (NACSW) NW1 - 9 year old GSD

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post #8 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 02:38 PM
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That's frightening... I guess laws are incredibly different in various locations. I wonder it if is a state vs state thing or country vs country thing. Is that typical in states across America?
I don't think there is a clear cut law. You would bring a case to court. For example, when I moved into the house I lived in during college, I noticed a few of the boards on the back deck were really rotted. If someone wasn't careful, they would step on a rotten board, break through, and probably break their leg or worse. The landlord is responsible for this as the owner of the property, so they'd be liable if an incident happened. If I broke my leg on that deck and wanted the landlord to pay for my medical bills, I would open a case in court and a judge would hear the case, consider all the factors, and make a ruling. Having a dog works the same way, the dog is like a piece of your property that has the potential to hurt someone. Now, if someone were bitten while committing a crime, a judge is probably not going to hear that case or rule in the criminal's favor. Though, I have a friend whose parents were sued when some kids trespassed onto their dock, dove into the water, and got hurt diving so shallow. Even though the kids were trespassing supposedly the home owners were liable because there was no warning about no diving.

Owning a dog is perfectly legal, so there are not clear cut laws like statues we have for crimes.
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post #9 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 02:42 PM
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Its a matter of the details of the situation, and who's got a better lawyer. I asked if I should put "caution, working K9" on my vehicle. Was told "On the one hand, you're providing warning which makes you less culpable since you warned first, on the other hand, it is making you more culpable as it is an indirect admission that you knowingly allowed a dangerous situation that could have been prevented".

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post #10 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 02:47 PM
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... meeting the Canine Unit, getting info that comes from a reliable source...? I would be excited if I met a couple friendly people from the Canine Unit.

-Cassie
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