Barking dogs & the law


Taking your pup to the dog park is a favorite pastime for many dog owners. It is not only a chance for your dog to interact with other canines, but also a social scene for their humans. 

Dog parks have become very popular during the past ten years, however, sometimes fun can turn to danger, and you should always be aware of this when visiting a dog park.

Many dog parks are leash-optional meaning that once you are inside a certain area, you may remove your dog’s 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.

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. Oftentimes, when there is an altercation between two dogs, it is the negligence of one or both owners that is in question.

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 of both dogs, if possible
  • Take pictures of the area in which the altercation happened
  • Take pictures of any signage regarding the rules in the dog park
  • Talk to any witnesses
  • File a police report

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 you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.

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