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Taking Your Dog to the Festival This Weekend?

By Keith Stachowiak on June 5, 2014 // Leave a Comment

One of the best parts about summer time in Milwaukee is all the festivals. Locust Street Fest is this weekend on June 8. This one is near and dear to my heart because I have lived half a block from the Locust Street Fest grounds for nearly a decade, in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood. But Locust Street is not the only festival happening in Milwaukee this weekend.

Having lived so close to Locust Street Fest, one thing I know about festivals is that people love to bring their dogs. Most of the time, dogs make it through the festival with no problem. However, the crowds of strangers and hundreds of new and confusing smells can be frightening for dogs, too. When some dogs get anxious, they can sometimes do unpredictable things.

In Wisconsin, dog owners are responsible for any injuries that are caused by their dogs – whether a bite, jumping on someone and knocking them over, or darting out in front of a bicycle. The law that holds dog owners liable, Wis. Stat. § 174.02, is commonly known as the “Dog Bite Statute,” although it does not strictly pertain to biting.

In addition to this state law, many communities also have laws that require dogs to be on leashes at all times when on public property. In Milwaukee, all dogs and cats are required to be licensed (see www.madacc.com), and dog owners can be ticketed for not cleaning up their dog feces.

Following are a few more City of Milwaukee dog rules:

  • No one may own more than three dogs.
  • Owners of pit bulls must have a fenced yard or kennel area with a concrete floor and must attend at least one dog behavior class.
  • While leashed, the leash of a pit bull must be held by a person 16 years of age or older and competent to govern the animal.

Most dog owners know their dogs to be friendly, but even a friendly dog can injure someone accidentally, and the dog owner may be held liable for those injuries. For example, if a dog startles someone, and that person gets injured as a result, the dog owner is responsible. There are many people who are fearful of dogs in public and who may be easily startled. For the safety of yourself, your dog, and others, it might be best to leave your dog at home while you enjoy that festival this weekend.

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