Dog Bite Laws By State - Michigan Dog Bite Lawyer

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Below is a list of dog bite laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including state statutes, whether a state holds owners strictly liable for dog bite injuries, and any additional provisions. Remember, state dog bite laws are a combination of local and state laws and are subject to change.

StateStatuteOwner Strictly Liable?Additional Provision
AlabamaAla. Code § 3-6-1Yes, if happens on owner’s property.Provocation exception
AlaskaNoneN/AOwner will be held liable under normal negligence laws or if the owner knew of dog’s dangerous propensities.
ArizonaAriz. Rev. Stat. §§ 11-102011-102511-1026Yes, when person is either in public or lawfully on private property.Provocation is a defense
ArkansasNoneN/AOwner will be held liable under normal negligence laws or if the owner knew of dog’s dangerous propensities.
CaliforniaCal. Civ. Code § 3342Yes, when if bite occurs on public property or victim lawfully on private property.No liability of victim trespassing/committing a crime.
ColoradoColo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-124Strict liability only if the victim suffers serious bodily injury. Otherwise, “One Bite” rule or proof of owner’s knowledge of dog’s “dangerous propensity.”Exceptions to owner liability include provoking the dog, person is trespassing, there is a “no trespass” or “beware of dog sign,” and more.
ConnecticutConn. Gen. Stat. § 22-357Strict liability unless person was trespassing, committing a tort, or abusing the dog.If victim is under the age of 7-years-old, there is a presumption against trespass/tort.
DelawareDel. Code Ann. § 1711Strict liability unless person was trespassing, committing a tort, or abusing the dog.N/A
District of ColumbiaD.C. Code Ann. § 8-1808Owner strictly liable if dog is “at large,” meaning off leash in a public space or not under the owner’s control.Contributory negligenceapplies to victim’s actions and can bar any recovery.
FloridaFla. Stat. Ann. §§767.01767.04Strict liability unless person is trespassing or committing a crime or tort on private property of owner or there is a visible “Bad Dog” sign on display.Comparative fault of victim can reduce damages by the percentage the victim is found liable.
GeorgiaGa. Code Ann. § 51-2-7Owner liable to dog is considered “dangerous animal” or off leash or not under control.N/A
HawaiiHaw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 663-9Owner liable for damages when negligent unless meets an exception.Exceptions include victim provocation or abuse of dog or victim was trespassing.
IdahoN/A“One Bite Rule”Owner may be liable to knew of dog’s dangerous propensities.
Illinois510 I.L.C.S. 5/16 § 16Strict liabilityException, victim was trespassing or provoked the dog.
IndianaInd. Code 15-20-1-3Strict liability if victim if was in a location where they were required to be in order to discharge a duty under federal or state law such as a mail carrier.In all other circumstances, owner held liable if they were negligent or had knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensities.
IowaIowa Code Ann. § 351.28Dog owner liable if the dog is “caught in the act of worrying, maiming, or killing a domestic animal,” or the dog is attacking or trying to bite a person.Dog owner may not be not liable if the dog attacked because it had rabies unless the dog’s owner knew the dog had rabies but failed to use “reasonable effort” to prevent the dog from harming others.
KansasN/ADog owner may be liable if they had knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensities, or if they acted negligently.N/A
KentuckyKy. Rev. Stat. § 258.235Dog owner strictly liable for any damage to a person, livestock, or other property.Any dog that is declared to be dangerous by a Kentucky court must be kept in a location that is secure from other people. See Kentucky Dog Bite Laws.
LouisianaLa. C.C. Art. § 2321Strictly liability for damages to persons or property caused by the dog and which the owner could have prevented and which did not result from the injured person’s provocation of the dog.Victim may have to prove owner could have prevented the incident.
MaineMe. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 3961Owner strictly liable when dog bite occurs off the owner’s premises or property.Injured person may have to show they were not at fault.
MarylandCode of Maryland section 3-1901Dog owner is strictly liable for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog, when the dog is running at large (not on owner’s property).Owner may not be liable if victim was trespassing or attempting to trespass on the owner’s property or committing or attempting to commit another crime; or provoking, abusing, teasing, or tormenting the dog.
MassachusettsMass. Gen. Laws Ann. 140 § 155Dog owner will be held strictly liable for damages caused by their dog, unless victim was trespassing, teasing, or tormenting the animal.If the victim is under the age of seven years old, the presumption is that there was no trespass or provocation.
MichiganMich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 287.351Dog owner may be liable for all damages resulting from a dog bite when the victim is either on public property, or lawfully on private property.Strict liability applies as long as victim did not provoke the dog
MinnesotaMinn. Stat. Ann. § 347.22Dog owner held strictly liable if do “attacks or injures any person who is acting peaceably in any place where the person may lawfully be.”Exceptions to liability: victim not acting peaceably or unlawfully in place where bite takes place.
MississippiN/A“One-Bite” Rule. Dog owner is only liable if they have knowledge of their dog’s vicious propensities.N/A
MissouriMo. Rev. Stat. § 273.036Dog owner liable if the injured person was on public property or was lawfully on private property, and the injured person did not provoke the dog to bite.Victim’s damages may be reduced by the percentage that they were at fault. Owner who is held liable for a dog bite must pay a fine of $1,000.00.
MontanaMont. Code Ann. § 27-1-715Dog owner strictly liable for damages caused by their dog, if the incident occurred in an incorporated town or city.N/A
NebraskaNeb. Rev. Stat. § 54-601Strict liability for dog owners unless exceptions apply.Special exception: owner not liable if the injury happens through the dog’s playfulness or mischievousness or the victim is a trespasser.
NevadaN/ADog owner liability if victim can prove that the dog owner’s negligence led to the dog bite injury, the plaintiff may recover damages for the dog bite injury.N/A
New HampshireN.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 466:19Dog owner held strictly liable for all physical damages caused by their dog, and for any mischievous acts which causes injury.N/A
New JerseyN.J. Stat. Ann. § 4:19-16Dog owner held strictly liable when victim is lawfully on private property or on public property when the dog bite occurs.N/A
New MexicoN/ADog owner may be held strictly liable if they had prior knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensities, or liable if they were negligent.N/A
New YorkN.Y. Agriculture & Markets Law, § 123(10)Owner of a “dangerous dog” is liable if the dog causes injuries to another person, to livestock, or to another person’s companion animal, like a disability service dogIf victim claims damages that are not medical, must prove the injured person must usually prove that the dog’s owner was negligent
North CarolinaN.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 67-12, 67-4.4, 67-4.1Owner strictly liable if they intentionally, knowingly, and willfully let their dog “run at large” at the time of the bite. Otherwise, victim may sue under a negligence claim.Strict liability for dangerous dogs,” defined as a dog that:has killed or severely injured a person without being provokedis owned, harbored, or trained for the purposes of dog fighting, orhas been determined to be a “potentially dangerous dog” by the local animal control board. 
North DakotaN/ADog owner can be liable for damages, if the victim can prove that the dog owner was negligent and negligence caused the injury.N/A
OhioOhio Rev. Code. Ann. § 955.28Dog owner strictly liable if he dog’s behavior caused the injury, the injured person was not committing (or trying to commit) a crime, the injured person was not trespassing, and the injured person did not tease, torment, or abuse the dog in order to provoke it.N/A
OklahomaOkla. Stat. Ann. § 4-42.1Dog owner strictly liable for dog bites if the injured person did not provoke the dog and the injured person was in a place he or she had a lawful right to be.N/A
OregonN/ADog owner will be liable for victim’s bite injuries if they knew (or had reason to know) of their dog’s dangerous propensities.N/A
PennsylvaniaPa. Consol. Stat. § 502 ATo establish a strict liability dog bite claim for a severe injury, the injured person must show that the dog caused a “severe injury,” and the dog acted without provocation. Otherwise, victim may attempt a “one bite” claim and show the dog caused an injury the owner knew that the dog had a history of causing injuries or of acting aggressively, and the injured person was not trespassing or provoking the dog when attacked.PA law describes a “severe injury” as “any physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.”
Rhode IslandR.I. Gen. Laws § 4-13-16Dog owner will be held liable for all damages unless the dog was confined.If this is the second time a dog owner is held liable for dog bite injuries, they will be fined.
South CarolinaS.C. Code Ann. § 47-3-110Dog owner will be liable for all damages if victim was on public property or lawfully on private property.N/A
South DakotaN/ADog owner will be liable if the victim can prove that the owner knew, or should have known, of the dog’s dangerous propensities, or if the owner was negligent.N/A
TennesseeTenn. Code Ann. § 44-8-413Dog owner is liable for all damages, regardless of prior knowledge of dog’s vicious propensities.Dog owner may not be held liable if victim was a trespasser.
TexasV.T.C.A., Health & Safety Code § 822.005Dog owner will be liable if the victim can prove that the owner had knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensities, was negligent, a leash law was violated, or the owner caused the injuryN/A
UtahUtah Code Ann. § 18-1-1Dog owner strictly liableNo state nor any county, city, or town, or peace officer will be held liable for injuries caused by law enforcement animals.
VermontN/ADog owner may be held liable if victim can prove owner had prior knowledge of dog’s dangerous propensities.N/A
VirginiaN/A“One bite” rule; a dog owner may be liable if the owner knew or should have known the dog might act aggressively.N/A
WashingtonWash. Rev. Code § 16-08-040Owner strictly liable if person was lawfully on private property or public property when the bite occurs.Law enforcement animals are not subject to strict liability laws.
West VirginiaW. Va. Code § 19-20-13Owner held strictly liable if the dog is “running at large.”N/A
WisconsinWis. Stat. § 174.02(1)(a) – First Bite Wis. Stat. § 174.02(1)(b) – Second BiteDog owner liable for first bite if not prior knowledge of dog’s dangerous propensities. Must also pay penalty of not less than $50 or more than $500 if the dog injures or causes injury to a person, domestic animal, property, deer, game birds or the nests or eggs of game birds.Second bite: Dog owner is strictly liable for two times the full amount of damages caused by the dog injuring or causing injury to a person, domestic animal or property.
WyomingN/ADog owner will be liable if the victim can prove negligence or knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensities.N/

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