Murphy & Prachthauser attorneys recently settled a case on behalf of a man who is an avid bicyclist. He suffered a severe injury when an unleashed dog ran onto a bicycle path. The man was startled and stopped suddenly to avoid the dog, causing him to fly off his bike, crashing onto the pavement.
Many of us own and love dogs. They are companions and members of our families. But, dog owners have to be aware that in Wisconsin, they are responsible for any injuries caused by their dogs. Wisconsin has a law commonly known as the “Dog Bite Statute.” The common name is misleading, however, because a dog owner is liable for any injuries caused by their dog, not just a bite. An owner of even the friendliest dog is liable if that dog playfully jumps up and knocks a person to the ground, injuring them.
Most communities also have laws requiring dogs be on a leash at all times when on public property. These laws are often considered to be “Safety Statutes.” When a person violates a Safety Statute and causes another person to be injured he is financially liable for those injuries.
While dog owners may know that their dogs are friendly and are only being curious, joggers, walkers, and bicyclists don’t know the nature of your dog. They may be afraid of dogs and may be easily startled or frightened by a strange dog bounding at them.
As a dog owner, do what is best for both you and your pet and attempt to avoid putting yourself in a position where your pet could injure another person. Abide by safety statutes, use a leash, and be aware of your surroundings and you will be able to reduce the risk of your dog causing serious injury to others.