Liability for Dog Bites
In Missouri, a person that is bitten by a dog can recover damages from the dog’s owner if the person was on public property or lawfully on private property, and the person did not provoke the dog to bite. Even if the owner of the dog reasonably attempted to restrain the dog or prevent the attack, they are liable. Rather than actual leash laws for pets, Missouri has “adequate control” laws, which require pets to be controlled and supervised while in public. When an unprovoked dog bites someone in public and the dog is unleashed, it is easily established that the dog’s owner was negligent or careless.
Damages can also be sought from the owner of the property where the dog bite occurred (for example – a landlord of property on which a dog resides) if it can be proven that the property owner knew or had reason to know that the dog was vicious, and injury was reasonably foreseeable. In some cases, it can be difficult to prove a property owner knew that a dog was vicious and likely to bite a person or another domestic animal when the dog does not belong to the property owner. When a dog has bitten another person or animal in the past, and a report has been made, it is easy to establish that the dog is aggressive and likely to bite.
Missouri has laws against keeping dangerous dogs – those that have bitten twice without provocation – and violating these laws could result in the dog being euthanized and criminal charges for the owner(s).
The law in Missouri concerning dog bites is complex and difficult to navigate without legal expertise. If you have recently suffered from a dog bite, call our office, and set up a free consultation with an attorney from House Packard McElderry, LLC.