Dogs are commonly referred to as “man’s best friend,” but if you’ve been bitten by one, you’re familiar with the damage they can do. Dog bites can leave behind permanent scarring, disfigurement, loss of extremities and emotional trauma. In a small percentage of cases, they’re fatal.
Because there’s plenty of public discourse on whether certain breeds are more dangerous than others, clients frequently want to know whether a dog’s breed will affect their personal injury claim. Here’s what you need to know about Ohio’s dog bite laws.
Ohio dog bite laws
Ohio has a “one bite” rule, where an owner is strictly liable for their dog’s bite—even if the dog has never bitten anyone before. This is opposed to the former common law rule where dogs had one “free” bite before the owner was liable.
Under Ohio Rev. Code Section 955.22, a dog that has bitten or attacked a person has to be registered as a “dangerous dog.” Dangerous dogs are subject to additional restrictions, including:
- Must be kept on a leash shorter than six feet, unless hunting
- Must be kept in a locked cage or yard
- Must be registered with the county auditor
- Must wear a tag designating dangerous status
Furthermore, if an owner is convicted of failing to control a dangerous dog three times, they’re required to get liability insurance. Convicted felons are not allowed to own a dangerous dog.
Does breed matter in a dog bite case?
Until 2012, Ohio considered pitbulls to be especially dangerous. Now, legally, Ohio is a “breed-neutral” state. That means that courts will not take the dog’s breed into account when handling a dog bite claim. This is true even if the attacking dog was a pitbull, bulldog, German shepherd, Rottweiler or other large, strong breed with potentially aggressive tendencies.
However, because of Ohio’s strict liability and dangerous dog rules, the breed doesn’t matter: the owner is still likely to be liable for the dog bite, unless your conduct is an affirmative defense for the dog owner.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the dog owner or controller may be liable for medical bills, lost wages while recovering, pain and suffering, emotional trauma and more. To find out more, contact the Law Offices of Tim Misny today. We’ll review your claim, explain your legal options and discuss what kind of compensation you could recover.
Consult an Ohio dog bite lawyer today
The Law Offices of Tim Misny can help you with your dog bite claim. If you were bitten by a dog and suffered harm as a result, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at (800) 556-4769 so that I can evaluate your case right away.