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Dog Bite Laws In The United States | Virginia Dog Bites & Attacks

June 5, 2012 by The Parrish Law Firm

When there is damage or injuries caused by a dog attack in the United States, the dog’s owner is held responsible and receives consequences imposed by the state he or she resides in. Dog bite law is “a unique combination of city and county ordinances, state statutory law, state case law, and common law” and therefore, it differs depending on one’s location.

Most states hold dog owners liable for injuries caused by their dog because they see it as negligence on the part of the owner.

Typically, if a dog owner is aware of his dog’s aggressive nature or violent tendencies, he is at a high risk of being held liable in the event of an attack. This is known as “scienter”—knowledge or knowing—and is referred to as the “one bite rule” in many states.

In some cases, the liability depends on the location of the attack—was it on the owner’s property or off of his premises? In some states, the Doctrine of Premises Liability is used to determine the extent of responsibility the owner must take in the event of an attack.

In Virginia, Butler v. Frieden, 158 S.E.2d 121 (Va. 1967) says, “an owner must have prior knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensity,” again referring to the one bite rule upheld by many states.

For a more detailed description of dog bite laws in the U.S., please click here.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a dog bite or attack, please contact Parrish Law Firm, PLLC today. Our experienced attorneys are ready to represent you in court and secure for you the settlement that you deserve. Call now at 703-906-4229.


  • http://www.mwl-law.com/CM/Resources/Dog-Bite-Laws-In-All-50-States-2012-05-31.pdf

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