When someone is attacked on the premises, dog park liability will depend on the circumstances. In general, the owner of the attacking dog is usually responsible. Each case would need to be evaluated and have a variety of factors that could impact responsibility.
Dog Park Liability for Injuries Sustained on Premises
There are certain settings in which a person assumes the risk. Using a dog park, particularly one where leashes are optional, does pose the risk of something going wrong -- such as getting bitten or attacked.
Signs may even be posted that indicate this assumption of risk. On the other hand, this doesn’t always mean the dog park doesn’t bear some responsibility for injuries that occur while using it. For instance, the owners of the park could be on the hook for dog park liability if they fail to enforce their own rules and it’s connected to someone being attacked.
More often, it’s the owner who is found liable when a dog attacks in a dog park. Owners are ultimately responsible for their dogs' actions and may be liable for injuries sustained. In West Virginia, the dog bite statute indicates owners who allow a dog to run at large are liable when someone is injured. The statute indicates, “liable for any damages inflicted upon the person or property of another by such dog while running at large.” This could apply to a dog park where people bring their animals for a pleasant play day and subsequently have no idea what to do if a dog attacks.
But there are other circumstances in which the Clarksburg owner might be found liable. Bringing a dog that has already been deemed dangerous or has previously bitten or injured a person or animal could be considered reckless. A recently sick dog can pose a disease risk if it bites. Negligence also may apply when deciding to bring a dog that would be considered unlikely to do well in a social setting. Examples include aggressive dogs, unneutered male dogs, and skittish or fearful dogs. They may have a greater propensity to bite and/or attack. Alongside the anger that accompanies an unprompted dog bite in a public setting is the fear of post-traumatic stress disorder or disease. Don’t let uncaring pet owners change your life; hire a dog bite lawyer in Clarksburg: (304) 931-4088.