A dog park is a wonderful place to take your four-legged buddies to play and burn off some energy. However, just as with children, excited play can turn rough, and someone gets hurt.
Part of the charm of these parks is also part of the danger. Many such areas are leash-optional, meaning that once you are in a specified area with your dog, you may take him off of the leash. This lets your pup run and play with other dogs. But, it also makes it more difficult to establish liability should there be an issue between two dogs.
Oftentimes, when there is an altercation between two dogs, it is the negligence of one or both owners that is in question. A dog park with leash-optional rules makes it more difficult to determine which owner, or in fact whether both owners, may have shown negligence in handling their dogs.
If you find yourself facing an aggressive dog and its owner, probably the best idea is to take you and your dog out of the park. However, these situations can happen quickly, and many times you won’t have the time to remove yourself and your pup.
If the owner of an ill-behaved or scared dog fails to act responsibly to control their pet, and should you or your dog sustain an injury that could have been prevented, then you will have a legal case.
If you or your pet become the victim, treat it like you would any other accident that may be headed for court. Take pictures, and talk to witnesses. You will also want to file a police report.
You will be asked to prove that the offending dog owner was unreasonable, and therefore negligent for not having his dog on a leash.
If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.