Dog owners in Connecticut should be aware of basic dog bite laws just in case anything goes wrong. Although everyone thinks they have the sweetest dog in the world, owners don’t always understand what’s going on in their dogs’ minds. A dog could be provoked by something that you didn’t notice.
There is no “free bite” in Connecticut
Connecticut has tougher dog bite laws than a lot of other states. In other states, a dog owner is only considered negligent after a dog bite if they knew that their dog was vicious. That means the dog had bitten before, and the owner knew it. In Connecticut, however, you are liable even the first time your dog bites someone.
What if the dog was provoked?
You may not be liable for a dog bite if someone provoked your dog before it attacked them. If the recipient of the dog bite was trespassing on your property or tormenting, abusing or teasing your dog, you are not liable for their injuries.
There are still exceptions
Under Connecticut law, a child under the age of 7 is presumed to be innocent of provoking a dog unless the dog owner can show evidence to dispute that assumption. Dog bites are also assumed to be the dog owner’s fault unless the owner can prove that the injured party was really teasing the dog, not just trying to play with it.
There is also an exception to the trespass rule. The Supreme Court of Connecticut ruled that a trespasser is only guilty of provoking a dog if they acted in a way that triggered the dog’s protective instincts.
What to do if your dog bites someone
You’re in a tough position if your dog bites someone in Connecticut. However, if your dog was genuinely provoked before the attack, you may be able to argue that you are not liable. Evidence from eyewitness statements and video footage may be key in your defense.