Pennsylvania has rules that are derived from both statute and case law
that apply when one person’s dog bites another person. There are
two classes of dog bite victims based on severity of the bite and whether
the dog has behaved dangerously or bitten in the past.
A “dangerous dog” is:
A. A dog that has done one or more of the following:
- Inflicted serious injury on a human being without provocation on public
or private property;
- Killed or inflicted severe injury on a domestic animal without provocation
while off the owner’s property;
- Attacked a human being without provocation;
- Been used in the commission of a crime.
B. A dog that has either or both of the following:
- A history of attacking people and/or domestic animals without provocation;
- A propensity to attack people and/or domestic animals without provocation.
A propensity to attack can be proven by a single incident of the conduct
described in (A), above.
Dangerous dogs must be registered, insured and contained. An owner must post a surety
bond for $50,000 or buy an insurance policy for coverage in the amount
of at least $50,000 insuring the owner for any personal injuries inflicted
by the dangerous dog. The dog must be firmly secured by means of a collar
and chain so that it cannot stray beyond the premises on which it is secured
or under the reasonable control of a responsible person. A dangerous dog
owner must also post a clearly visible warning sign that there is a dangerous
dog on the property.
The owner of a dangerous dog may be held civilly liable in Pennsylvania
if they fail to abide by their responsibilities and it results in injury
to another person. A landlord may also be held liable for injuries the
dog causes while on the landlord’s property, if they know that a
tenant owns a dangerous dog and if the landlord has the right to remove
the animal from the property.
Injuries and conditions from a dog bite include scratches, puncture wounds,
lacerations, scarring and post-traumatic stress.
Metzger Wickersham's personal injury attorneys have extensive experience
helping dog bite victims. If you've been hurt by a dangerous dog,
we can work to obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and
non-economic damages for pain and suffering and disfigurement. Contact
us today for a free consultation.