Do Warning Signs Lessen Liability for Dog Attacks?
Being a dog owner comes with a lot of responsibilities – and with good reason. Dogs were once wild animals and were only domesticated relatively recently in human history. Dog owners should always take great care to teach their dogs to behave in public, obey commands, and avoid jumping on strangers, even if the animals are only being playful.
Unfortunately, many dog owners do not take these responsibilities seriously, putting in the bare minimum of work by posting warning signs. These “Beware of Dog” signs are common throughout Phoenix, but are they actually enough to prevent dog attacks?
Legal Requirement for Dog Owners in Arizona
In the state of Arizona, pet owners must follow specific state dog laws in order to prevent serious injuries. Whether they were born and raised in Arizona or moved here from out-of-state, dog owners must:
- License the dog with their county’s Animal Care and Control agency once the animal is three months old.
- Get their dog vaccinated against rabies.
- Keep their dog indoors or enclosed on their property with a fence.
- Keep their dog on a leash that is less than six feet long when in public.
Do Owners Have to Put Up “Beware of Dog” Signs?
“Beware of Dog” signs are not required by Arizona state law, but they are useful in warning guests, solicitors, and workers that there is a dog on the premises. Anyone thinking about trespassing on the property will know that there is the risk of being bitten, jumped on, or attacked by a dog, which can help keep the home safe. However, for legal guests, these signs are all but useless.
Beware of Dog Signs and Liability
If someone was legally visiting a dog owner’s property, then a “Beware of Dog” sign will have no impact if that someone was bitten and then files a dog bite claim. Even if the owners made sure everyone could see the sign, they are still responsible for preventing their animal from hurting someone. This is true whether the victim was a friend who came over for a party or a contractor coming by to do a scheduled repair. Guests who have implied consent, such as a delivery driver who was dropping off a package or a maintenance worker that the owner knew would be on the property, can also file a claim if the dog bit them.
Dog Bite Liability in Arizona
Arizona is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites, meaning a dog’s owner is required to provide compensation when his or her pet bites someone. A dog-bite victim does not have to prove that the owner was negligent that the dog was aggressive to recover compensation: instead, they only have to show that:
- They did not provoke the dog; and
- They had a legal right to be on the owner’s property or were on public property during the attack.
Even if the dog’s owner had a “Beware of Dog” sign on his property, he can still be held responsible if his pet bites a guest, maintenance worker, or package handler. But in order to get proper compensation after a dog bite, you will need to work with a skilled Phoenix personal injury attorney.
Dog bites are usually covered under homeowners’ insurance policies, but these companies will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying out a fair settlement after a bite. At Breyer Law Offices, P.C., we have seen time and time again how insurance companies try to minimize liability or deny claims after serious accidents. We know insurer tactics and how to fight back. If you were bitten by another person’s dog, the Husband and Wife Law Team can advocate for full compensation on your behalf.
To learn how, call us at (602) 457-6222 and receive a free case evaluation.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer