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Arizona’s Dog Bite Law

By Breyer Law Offices on January 10, 2018

Do you know how Arizona’s dog bite law began? It started with a miniature poodle named “Fabian.” In 2009, Fabian was on a walk with his owner, who was holding him on his leash. They were still in their own driveway when another dog ran from its backyard and grabbed Fabian, biting and shaking him aggressively. Although his owner rushed him to an emergency animal clinic, Fabian did not survive.

The loss was heartbreaking and incredibly scary for Fabian’s owners, Richard and Sally Andrade. But instead of simply mourning the loss of their beloved pet, they also began fighting for new legislation that would hold careless and negligible dog owners responsible for their pet’s actions, especially dog bites and dog-on-dog attacks.

While it took a couple of years to get the legislation passed, Fabian’s Law, HB2137 was signed into law on April 25, 2011 by Governor Janice Brewer. It’s important to know that the law doesn’t target specific breeds and has nothing to do with breed select legislation, but instead protects responsible pet owners who comply with the law and keep their pets under control at all times.

Owners who cannot or will not obey the law and control their pets are held accountable for their inaction and irresponsible behavior. Fabian’s Law increases penalties for owners whose dogs bite, maim and attack both pets and humans. Many studies show that aggressive dogs that attack other dogs are also prone to attack humans, especially smaller children. That’s why Fabian’s Law is so important.

What Can You Do to Obey the Law?

It’s very important to understand that dog owners are responsible for the actions of their pets at all times, even when they aren’t home. Dogs must be housed in a secure area, such as inside a house where they can’t bite at other pets or humans, and where they can’t escape. An aggressive dog should never be kept in a backyard where they can get out by jumping a fence, digging, or opening a gate. Aggressive dogs should never be kept tied up where other pets or humans can approach.

It’s also important to know that even the most timid-seeming dog can become aggressive under the right circumstances. For example, a “nice” dog may want to protect its food or sleeping area and snap at other pets or children who come near. If the occurrence escalates, continues or scares the dog, it’s possible it may take more aggressive actions.

Owners must be careful to keep an eye on their dogs at all times around other pets and humans, especially small children. The dog must be on a leash while outside of the house and in a secure area when the owner is gone.

If you were bitten by a dog, we may be able to help you. Call Breyer Law Offices, P.C., for a free consultation.

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