I was attacked by a dog
If a dog or another animal attacks or injures you, you may be able to sue the animal’s owner to help you pay for the cost of your injuries. An animal owner is anyone who owns, keeps, or cares for an animal. Animal owners are also people who let an animal stay on their property.
To be able to sue the animal owner, these three things must be true:
- You must not have done something on purpose that would cause a normal animal to attack you;
- You must have been acting peacefully at the time you were attacked; and
- You must have been in a place that you had right to be. That is, you must not have been trespassing.
If an animal owner knows that their animal is vicious or dangerous to people, they have to pay for injuries caused by the animal. You do not have to prove anything except that you were injured. This is true unless:
- You did something you should have known would provoke the animal;
- You knew the animal was dangerous and did something you should have known would provoke that animal; or
- You exposed yourself to injury on purpose even though you knew the animal was dangerous.
If you want to sue the animal owner, you must do so within two years from the date you were injured.
My livestock was attacked by a dog
If a dog kills or injures your livestock, poultry, or horses, you can file a claim for reimbursement from the Animal Control Fund. To get the money, you must:
- Be a resident of the State, and
- Report the incident within 24 hours.
You must include an affidavit that says the number of animals or poultry killed or injured.
You should also include the amount of money the animals were worth, and the name of the dog’s owner, if you know this information. Animal control will investigate. It will need at least two witnesses to the incident.
If animal control accepts your claim, the County Treasurer will pay you on the first Monday in March.
If you receive money from the County Treasurer, you can still sue the dog’s owner in court. But you may have to give some or all of the money you get from the dog’s owner to the County Treasurer.
Note: Local animal control ordinances may also apply. Check the websites of your city and county for more information.