Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian Blog

Taking Your Dog for a Walk? Keep Your Dog Leashed.

Posted by Matt Schmidt | Dec 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

Dog on a leash to prevent dog bites
A friendly reminder for all pet owners from Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian to please keep your dogs leashed when you're out for a walk and always adequately confined when they're at home.
 
As one of Tucson's premier personal injury attorneys specializing in dog bites, we have been getting a lot of calls lately from people getting injured by dogs. Whether it is a dog bite or some other injury caused by a dog (e.g., a person falls over because a dog is coming at them), the majority of calls we get involve dogs that were not on a leash. 
 
Tucson continues to grow with more retirees moving here and people visiting from out of town than ever before. As our city gets busier and our parks, trails, riverwalk, and neighborhoods begin to see an increase in the amount of daily walkers, joggers, and cyclists, it is more important than ever to keep your dog on a leash for the safety of others, for the safety of your own dog, and for your own legal protection. When at home, it is equally important to make sure that your dog is adequately confined and cannot escape where it can potentially harm someone or bite them.
 
In Arizona, dog owners are strictly liable in the event that their dog bites someone. A.R.S 11-1025. This strict liability applies to a dog bite regardless of whether the dog was leashed or unleashed, whether the dog was in a public place or a private place, or whether the dog has any history of violence (the only primary defense to a dog bite claim is if the dog was provoked). 
 
Additionally, dog owners and/or whoever is in charge of the dog are strictly liable in the event that their dog causes an injury to someone while that dog is at large. A.R.S. 11-1020. It is important to note that the injury in a claim involving a dog at large does not need to be a bite, but rather any type of injury so long as it was caused by a dog at large. For example, the owner of a dog that chases down a cyclist and causes that cyclist to fall will be responsible for the injuries caused to the cyclist, even if the dog and cyclist never made any physical contact. Injuries caused by dogs at large can often be more serious than bites, including broken bones, disfigurement, concussions, and worse. 
 
We have heard this from dog owners many times: “well, my dog would never hurt a fly, so they do not need to be on a leash.” The fact is, every dog does indeed need to be on a leash regardless of how well-behaved or well-trained they may seem. Even nice dogs that are not properly confined can become dangerous when other people and other dogs are involved. 
 
For example, no one can predict how another person will respond to an unknown and unleashed dog coming at them. A dog coming at someone even playfully could easily be mistaken for a dog coming at someone aggressively, causing that person to take flight and trip or fall over. Additionally, many things can go wrong when an unleashed dog approaches a person who is walking a dog on a leash; not only is it possible that the leashed dog is or will become aggressive and protective, but equally possible that the dog walker will become protective of their own dog. If an injury occurs during these situations, the owner who allowed their dog to roam free will in most situations become the liable one.
 
If you or your loved one were attacked by a dog or dangerous animal, you have rights. That is why you should not hesitate to speak with the Tucson personal injury team at AZ Injury Law if you have been injured or traumatized by an animal attack of any kind. You can hold the animal's owner legally responsible for your medical expenses and other needs. 
 
At Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian, our dog bite injury attorneys can assist you with filing a claim in Tucson, Arizona. Contact us and we will help you gather the evidence to establish the liability and negligence of the animal's owner, and we will fight for the highest possible damages in your case. 

About the Author

Matt Schmidt

Matt graduated from the James E Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in passing the Arizona bar exam in 2010. Matt's primary interest in law focuses on general personal injury and insurance bad faith.

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