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Fabian's Law: Punishing Owners for Dog-on-Dog Violence

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer recently signed into law House Bill 2137. The bill imposes a criminal penalty on owners of "aggressive dogs" who fail to take "reasonable care" to prevent their dogs from escaping their residence or from biting or attacking other domestic animals or people.

WHY IS IT CALLED FABIAN'S LAW?

Fabian was a poodle that was attacked and killed by a pit bull in Glendale Arizona. Fabian's owners had no legal recourse to recover damages from the pit bull's owners. The current law only punished an owner whose dog attacked or bit a person, but there was no recourse for dog-on-dog attacks. Fabian's owners tirelessly lobbied the Arizona legislature to enact a law that would punishes an owner when the owner's dog attacks another dog. House Bill 2137 was signed into law on April 20th, 2011 and was unofficially dubbed "Fabian's Law."

SUMMARY OF FABIAN'S LAW

Fabian's law punishes owners of "aggressive dogs." Owners of aggressive dogs can be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor if they fail to take reasonable care to prevent their dog from biting or attacking another person or domestic animal. Owners of aggressive dogs will face a Class 3 Misdemeanor if the owner fails to take reasonable steps to prevent the dog from escaping to the outside of a residence or an enclosed area.

WHAT IS AN AGGRESSIVE DOG?

An "aggressive dog" is a dog with a prior history of biting or attacking another person or domestic animal without provocation. If your dog fits this description, you are the owner of an "aggressive dog" and must take reasonable care to prevent your dog from escaping your residence or yard and from biting or attacking other domestic animals.

WHAT IS "REASONABLE CARE"?

Reasonable care is the degree of care that a prudent person would exercise in the same or similar situation.

If you or a loved one or your pet has been attacked by another dog or domestic pet, please give us a call to discuss your rights and what you may be entitled to.

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