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10 Things You Should Know About Wisconsin’s Dog Statute

By Keith Stachowiak on December 27, 2013 // Leave a Comment
  1. Wisconsin Statute Section 174.02 applies not only when a dog bites someone, but also when the dog causes injury to persons, domestic animals, or property. Becker v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 141 Wis.2d 804, 416 N.W.2d 906 (App. 1987).
  2. The dog owner statute applies when a guest to the home trips over a sleeping pet. But, liability is precluded by public policy considerations. Alwin v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Co., 234 Wis.2d 441, 610 N.W.2d 218 (App. 2000).
  3. An injured party may not recover if she entered a home without permission from the owner and was then bit by a dog inside the home. Fandrey ex rel. Connell v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., 272 Wis. 2d 46, 680 N.W.2d 345 (2004).
  4. If the dog owner knew or had reason to know that the dog was vicious or had caused injury in the past, the owner is responsible for double the damages caused to the injured party on the second occasion. Wis. Stat. § 895.045(1)(b).
  5. If a dog does bite someone and the case is reported to the police, the police usually quarantine the dog to the home for a certain time period and will request veterinarian records for up to date vaccinations.
  6. A court may grant a judgment ordering a dog to be killed when the dog caused injury without reasonable cause on two separate occasions off of the owner’s property and when the owner of the dog was given notice or knew the dog caused the first injury. Wis. Stat. § 895.045(3)(a)(1)-(2).
  7. The average amount paid for dog bite cases was more than $29,000 in 2011. But, usually homeowners insurance policies often provide coverage for injuries caused by dogs. Insurance Information Institute, Prevent Dog Bites – And a Lawsuit; Average Cost of Dog Bite Claims Is On the Rise, May 17, 2012, available at http://www.iii.org/press_releases/prevent-dog-bites-and-a-lawsuit-average-cost-of-dog-bite-claims-is-on-the-rise.html.
  8. Insurance companies often deny coverage for several breeds of dogs including: Pit Bulls, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Chows, Great Danes, Presa Canarios, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, and Wolf-hybrids. If coverage is not denied, oftentimes insurers charge a higher premium for homeowners with these breeds of dogs. http://www.forbes.com/sites/cateyhill/2012/05/30/11-riskiest-dog-breeds-for-homeowners-and-renters/
  9. Insurance companies may also deny coverage or drop coverage for homeowners who have a dog who has caused injury in the past.
  10. To protect your dog and yourself make sure to check your insurance policy for coverage for injuries caused by your breed of dog and train your dog well to avoid dog bite situations.