Who is Protected by Arizona’s Dog Laws?

In the event of a dog bite, do you know your responsibility as a dog owner? Do you know your rights as a bite victim? It’s important that you know these Arizona dog laws, whether or not you own a dog.

A.R.S. § 11-1025 – Strict Liability

In Arizona, the owner of a dog that bites someone is liable to the person bitten. This is true regardless of the dog’s prior viciousness, regardless of whether there was any intent to harm, regardless of whether the dog was on private or public property, and regardless of whether a person has taken reasonable measures to keep the dog enclosed. This is called strict liability.

Some states have a one-bite rule that allows a dog one free bite, but not in Arizona. The only potential defense to a dog bite was that the dog was provoked. Provocation is actually very rare in dog bite cases. Generally, provocation will stand as a defense if the actions of the person bitten are determined to have been threatening to the dog and would have merited self-defense on the part of the dog if the dog was a human. For example, if a person attempts to hurt or injure a dog and the dog responds by biting the person trying to injure the dog, it could reasonably be argued that the dog was provoked.

A.R.S. § 11-1020 – Dog-at-Large

Any injury to person or property by a dog-at-large is the responsibility of the dog owner or the person responsible for the dog at the time the dog was at-large. To be at-large means the dog is not confined by an enclosure or the dog is not physically restrained by a leash when not confined in an enclosed area of private property. Dogs are never allowed to be at-large in public parks or on public school property. The safest thing to do is keep your dog on a leash at all times. Regardless of civil liability because of a dog-at-large, most municipalities have criminal ordinances prohibiting dogs being at-large.

A.R.S. § 11-1014 – Reporting the Bite

If a dog or other animal bites someone, the animal must be quarantined and the bite must be reported to the county immediately.

A.R.S. § 11-1014.01 – Once a Dog Bites …

A person who owns or who is responsible for the care of an aggressive dog shall take reasonable care to:

  1. Prohibit the dog from escaping to the outside of a residence or an enclosed area, yard or structure.
  2. Control the dog in a manner that prevents the dog from biting or attacking a person or domestic animal at all times while the dog is off the owner’s or responsible person’s property

An “aggressive dog” is defined as any dog that has bitten a person or domestic animal without provocation or that has a known history of attacking persons or domestic animals without provocation. Thus, once a dog has a person or domestic animal, the owner has an even greater responsibility to control the dog at all times, even if the dog is on a leash and/or on private property.

A.R.S. § 12-541 – 1-Year Statute Of Limitations

Normally a person has two years in which they can bring a claim for a personal injury based on negligence. This means that if you wait longer than two years from the date of the injury, you cannot make a claim or sue. This two year timeframe is called the statute of limitations. To bring a claim under Arizona’s strict liability statute however, the statute of limitation or time to make a claim is only one year.

If you or a loved one have been bitten or injured by a dog or other domestic animal, please CALL IMMEDIATELY for a FREE, NO OBLIGATION consultation.