Harborers and Keepers of Vicious Dogs

keepers and harborers of dangerous dogsOhio law considers harborers and keepers of dogs liable in nearly all dog bite attacks. If a dog has previously attacked and seriously injured a person without provocation, it may be deemed “vicious” or “dangerous.” In such circumstances, harborers and keepers are required to take certain steps to ensure the animal cannot attack again.

Dogs in general must be confined or restrained within the owner’s or keeper’s premises. A vicious dog must be secured in a pen closed on all sides and locked, or in a yard with a fence at least six feet high, and locked gate. Other enclosures may meet the requirement, but ultimately the dog is to be kept under the physical control of the keeper or owner.

When the vicious dog is taken off the owner’s premises, it must be either kept in an enclosure, as mentioned above, or muzzled and placed on a chain leash no longer than six feet. The person controlling the leash must be at least fourteen years of age. This rule ensures that the keeper can possess the required adequate control over the animal.

Once a dog has been deemed vicious its owner or keeper is required to obtain liability insurance with an insurance company licensed in Ohio. A minimum of $100,000 coverage for damage, bodily injury, or death for each occurrence must be maintained. If law enforcement asks for proof of insurance, and the owner fails to produce it, this will be prima-facie evidence that there is none.

An owner is not allowed to take measures to conceal a dog’s viciousness, either. It is illegal to debark a vicious dog, or even to keep a debarked dog that a person believes to be vicious. Owners may not falsify information on veterinary medical forms.

Ohio law regarding vicious and attacking dogs is strict. This reflects a philosophy of concern for the safety of the public over the rights those who choose to own or keep vicious dogs. If you have been a victim of a dog bite attack, contact the Ohio dog bite lawyers Slater & Zurz LLP for a FREE consultation by calling 1-800-297-9191 or send a message to schedule a time to talk.

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