Leash Laws in DC Dog Bite Cases

If a dog is outside of a confined area, the dog is required to be on a leash. This does not apply in somewhere like a dog park, but if someone is taking their dog for a walk, they need to keep the dog on a leash. A qualified dog bite lawyer can help you file for damages if you believe an owner has violated leash laws in DC dog bite cases.

Impact of Leash Laws on Liability

Leash laws in DC dog bite cases have an impact on whether or not someone is acting reasonably under the circumstances. If someone is walking their dog without a leash then they are not acting reasonably. Someone can be held liable under a theory called negligence per se, which means that the violation is self-evident, or negligence in and of itself.

If someone is in violation of the leash law and the dog attacks someone, the attack can be considered evidence of negligence. Someone will not need to prove the vicious propensity of the dog because there was per se negligence by not having that dog on a leash in a public area except in a dog park.

Is it Possible that the Dog Owner did Nothing Wrong?

The most common situation preventing liability is where it is shown that the owner simply did not do anything wrong. This happens when there is no evidence that the dog was violent before the accident, had never bitten anyone, the dog was on a leash, and someone simply approached the dog and the dog bit them.

In this situation, there is nothing that the owner could have done to prevent the accident and would not be held liable. Another more common scenario is where a tenant of a landlord has a dog, however, the landlord has no power to evict the tenant just because of the dog. The landlord knows that the dog is violent but is unable to take any action. If that dog attacks someone, the landlord is not liable.

Investigative Tactics in Dog Bite Cases

When determining the role of leash laws in DC dog bite cases, the most important investigative tactic is to gather witness statements. A lot depends on the case. If you have a dog who escaped from a confined area, you need to show that the area was not sufficient to secure the dog. If the dog was not on a leash, that will be easier to prove.

If a dog was on a leash and still bit someone, they will need to pull animal control records to determine whether there had been any prior complaints against this dog.

Getting statements from neighbors is a helpful tactic in that kind of case. The most important thing is to always show that the owner of the dog was aware of the dog’s vicious or violent propensities before the bite occurred.

What are the Applicable Contributory Negligence Laws?

A common situation where a person will be found to have been contributorily negligent is when a dog is confined within a fence and the person reaches over the fence to pet the dog and is bitten. Another one is where someone is walking a dog on a leash and someone else runs up and tries and pets the dog without asking and does not take any precautions.

Situations come up where someone knows a dog and knows the dogs’ violent tendencies. If someone chooses to ignore what they know about a dog and treat it like any other dog, they could be held to be contributorily negligent. Those would be the most common situations where someone can be found contributorily negligent.