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Are there cases where an owner is not liable for a dog bite?

Many in Bridgeport may look to dogs for love and companionship. However, it should not be forgotten that these animals are capable of causing harm. If you or a member of your family is bitten by a dog, then most would likely assume that responsibility for the incident (as well as any expenses that may come with it) should be that of the dog owner. Yet is that always the case?

Connecticut state law does very clearly state that the owner of a dog (or, if the owner is a child, his or her parents) is liable for injuries the animal causes. There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule. The law also states that the owner may be absolved of liability if you (or your family member) are proven to have been doing any if the following to the dog:

  •          Teasing
  •          Tormenting
  •          Abusing

If, say your teenage son was throwing rocks at a dog, and the animal chased him down and bit him, then it may be difficult to argue that the animal was not provoked to attack. If you (or again, your family member) were trespassing on a dog owner’s property when his or her animal bit you, he or she may again be viewed as not being liable.

This protection from liability does not always apply, however. If your family member that was attacked by a dog was under the age of seven at the time, it is automatically assumed that he or she was not engaged in any activity that may have provoked the animal. In such a case, the burden of proving otherwise lies with the dog owner. 

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