Last year in the U.S., 31 people were killed in dog attacks. Hundreds more were injured.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog attack, you’re already dealing with physical and mental stress. The last thing that you want to do is try to navigate the legal process and interpret dog bite laws in Wisconsin on your own. That’s why we’re compiling a guide to make it simple for you to figure out how the law applies to your situation, and what kind of compensation you are eligible for. Keep reading to learn more.
The Owner is Always Responsible
Unlike in states where there is a gray area or room for discrepancies, dog bite laws in Wisconsin are very clear: The owner of the dog is always responsible for the attack.
This goes beyond just attacks involving a dog and another person. It can also include any incident where a dog attacked another dog or damaged another person’s property or belongings. It also includes incidents when a dog attacks another animal, such as a domestic cat, farm animals, or other pets.
Dog attacks involving people, property, or other dogs are covered under Wisconsin Statutes section 174.02(1).
Penalties that a Dog Owner is Liable for Following an Attack
Dog bite laws in Wisconsin state that dog owners are liable for the full amount of damages caused by the dog. This includes the physical or emotional injuries caused to a person that was attacked. It also includes responsibility for the full amount of damages to another person’s property or damage and injury caused towards another animal.
The dog owner also faces statutory penalties. These state that the dog owner is responsible for no less than $50 and no more than $500 worth of damages.
Did the Owner Know that the Dog Was a Danger?
If there is evidence that the dog owner knew that their pet may be a threat to others, the penalties of dog bite laws in Wisconsin are even more strict. The dog owner can then be liable for double the original penalties.
Knowledge that the dog was a danger can occur in two ways. The first is if the owner already knew that the dog was a threat, either through previous attacks or displayed behavior. The other way that knowledge that the dog was a danger can be established is if the owner is notified that the dog is a threat. This could be reports of threatening behavior from a neighbor, or reports of threatening behavior from a previous owner from whom the current owner obtained the dog.
Proving that the owner had knowledge of the dog being a danger can sometimes be a challenge. It’s a task that’s best left in the hands of a capable, experienced lawyer.
Getting Justice Under Dog Bite Laws in Wisconsin
If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack or if your property (or your own pets) have been attacked or damaged, it’s time to seek justice.
You need a lawyer who understands dog bite laws and who is ready to fight for the compensation that you deserve. If you’ve been a victim of a dog attack, contact us today to see how we can help.