How To Avoid Dog Bite Lawsuits: For Dog Owners and Travelers

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Traveling with your beloved pets, especially dogs, can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, it comes with unique challenges, one of which is the risk of dog bites.

In this guide, you will learn essential information, tips, and personal insights to make your journey with dogs more enjoyable and secure.

Whether you’re a seasoned pet owner or a first-time traveler with a canine companion, this article has got you covered.

Let’s delve into the world of traveling with dogs and handling potential dog bites – at home or away.

tips to avoid Dog bite lawsuits
Rule #1: Keep your dog comfortable while traveling to avoid a cranky dog.

CONTENTS — In this article, you will learn important tips to avoid dog bite lawsuits, including:

Dog Bites, Consequences, And Rules

With 66% of households in the USA owning dogs, it is important you know the rules, as well as what to do if your dog were to bite someone.

Whether you have a small or a large breed, when it comes to dog bites, all species are treated the same. 

So, if you are a current dog owner or someone who is looking into getting a dog as a pet or for protection, here are a few things you should know.

What Is The Law?

dog bite laws
What does the law say about dog bites?

In Arizona law, a dog owner is liable if a dog bites someone. You may be facing dog bite lawsuits, whether in public or at your home.

The at-home part of this law only applies in the case of someone legally being in your house. That means someone you’ve invited or has business to be there.

And, it does not matter if you are aware that your dog has bitten someone.

So, if your dog roams free in your yard and bites a delivery person without your knowledge, they will still have a case against you.

Anyone who may have been bitten will need to provide evidence of a bite.

Evidence can include witness statements from someone present or a wearable camera. Acceptable evidence also includes a police report or a report from a medical professional detailing the injury.

The same evidence criteria holds true if you are the one bitten by someone else’s dog.

It is also important to ensure you are aware of who legally owns the animal that attacks you. This is especially important when you are traveling.

If you file a claim against a person who is looking after the dog for someone else, your case will not be upheld.

So, you must sue the person who owns the animal that attacked you.

You’ll also need to take into account any state-specific or international laws and your insurance coverage if you’re bitten while traveling.

Related: Accused of Crime While Traveling in America? Valuable Insights You Need to Know

As with most civil cases in the US, you’ll have a certain timeline in which you must bring the case to court.

In this instance (Arizona), the timeframe is two years.

So, if you get bitten by a dog, and you know who owns the dog, call and speak to a dog bite lawyer. They can help present your claim.

If you sustain a different injury from a dog, you will have to prove that the owner has been negligent in controlling their dog. An example of this would be if a dog knocks you over and you end up with a broken bone but no bite.

This is based on a reasonable care level.

That means if the dog was not on a leash or being watched when out in public, or if the owner had no idea where the dog was or how to control it. 

However, you would need to be able to prove that the owner was failing to take reasonable care of their dog.

And, vice versa, the burden of proof is on the victim if your dog caused a non-bite injury to another person.

When your dog is the offender, legal advice can potentially help you get out of dog bite lawsuits. They help can help you with most dog bite incidents or injuries other than a bite caused by a dog.

When Are You Not Liable?

avoid dog bite lawsuits
It’s not always the dog’s fault!

Even though it’s upsetting if your dog bites someone, there are a few instances when they may not be held accountable.

For instance, if your dog is provoked or if someone is on your private property, you will not be liable for the dog bite.

Likewise, if someone was being aggressive or could be seen as aggressive with you or the dog, you may not be held accountable for the injury. 

If the dog is protecting its home from an intruder or someone sneaking in when they should not be there, you may need to prove this. In this scenario, you would likely not be liable and would not face any dog bite lawsuits.

When you’re considering bringing your dog on a trip with you, truly assess whether they are capable of handing the stress and unpredictability. If you have doubts, it’s better if you leave your dog behind with a trusted caregiver.

Preventing Your Dog from Biting Others While Traveling

Dog Training
Train your dog before taking him out on a trip.

Traveling with your dog or around other dogs presents challenges. It can be a stressful experience for dogs even with the best temperament.

So, here are 3 key ways you can help prevent dog bites.

When traveling with your dog:

  1. Understand Your Dog’s Triggers – Learn to recognize and understand your dog’s triggers and signs of stress or discomfort. Avoid exposing your dog to situations that might provoke aggressive behavior.
  2. Provide Proper Supervision – Keep a close eye on your dog’s interactions with unfamiliar people and other animals during your travels. Be proactive in preventing potential conflicts.
  3. Use Secure Restraints – When you and your dog are visiting public places or crowded areas, ensure your dog is securely restrained with a leash or harness. This not only ensures their safety but also gives others peace of mind.

Additionally, make sure they are well fed, watered, and rested and try to maintain some routine and excercise.

These simple tips can keep you free from dog bite lawsuits in many circumstances, but especially if you are traveling.

They will make your dog feel more secure, too!

Staying Safe When Encountering Unfamiliar Dogs

unfamiliar dogs
Stay alert and cautious while facing unfamiliar dogs.

When you encounter unfamiliar dogs while traveling (or at home), follow these tips to help prevent getting in harm’s way. If you have your dog with you, be even more vigilent.

  1. Approach with Caution – When encountering an unfamiliar dog while traveling, you want to approach with caution and avoid sudden movements. Be sure to respect the dog’s personal space and allow them to approach you if they are comfortable.
  2. Ask for Permission – If you encounter a dog accompanied by its owner, always ask for permission before petting or interacting with the dog. Some dogs may be anxious or reactive in unfamiliar environments.
  3. Read Body Language – Learn to read dog body language to assess their mood and level of comfort. You always want to avoid interactions with dogs displaying signs of fear, anxiety, or aggression.

Final Thoughts on Avoiding Dog Bite Lawsuits

Traveling with dogs can be an incredible journey that creates cherished memories for both you and your furry companion.

It requires that you adequately prepare, prioritize your dog’s health and safety, and understand how to handle dog bites. When you do so, you can ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience that can keep you safe from facing dog bite lawsuits.

Remember to research, plan, and make informed decisions when you make travel plans with your four-legged friend. Then, it can be a truly rewarding adventure.

No one wants their dog to harm someone, or to be harmed by a dog, at home or away. But if it happens, after getting proper medical care, find a good dog bite lawyer to help you navigate the situation.


Jackie Gately at the beach


About Jackie Gately, editor-IN-CHIEF

I'm Jackie Gately, your travel confidante and the creative force behind Enjoy Travel Life, awarded the "Best Casual-Luxury Lifestyle Blog (USA)" in Travel and Tourism by LUXlife Magazine for four consecutive years.

With 25 years of published expertise, I'm a seasoned writer, editor, and photographer curating inspiring travel guides and lifestyle tips for empty nesters. I hope to kindle your spirit of exploration, encouraging you to overcome obstacles and turn your dreams into reality.

Learn to minimize your pre-travel angst and maximize the joy of exploration with insights from my experiences. Let's make every adventure a celebration of this exciting phase of life! 

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Next Steps

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