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As the owner of a dog you are responsible for the dogs actions at all times, even when they are not directly under your control. This is often one of the most challenging aspects of owning a dog and is one that is potentially very costly if the dog injures someone while away from your supervision or while under your supervision.
There are more cases in the courts each year with dog owners suing other dog owners for injuries that one dog did to another. This can be very expensive both in court fees as well as vet bills and other issues. Often the owner of the injured dog is able to claim court fees, attorneys fees, vet bills as well as money for the future care of the dog, loss of revenue from the dog if it was a show dog used for competitions or breeding, or even for mental suffering for the family.
To avoid any possible liability for injuries your dog may cause another dog or pet be sure to keep you dog safely in your yard or on a leash at all times. If your dog does have a tendency to become aggressive around other dogs consider a head halter or harness that allows more control or even a muzzle when taking the dog out of the yard.
Dog Bite Liability
Dog injuries to people are very serious. In most areas a dog that is reported for biting a person will be required to be quarantined to assure no health risk to the individual and then is usually put down. It is the responsibility of the dog owner to ensure that the dog is kept continually fenced or controlled to avoid any possible risk to other people. Large dogs, guard dogs or dogs such as Pit Bulls, which are forbidden by many city by-laws, should always be carefully contained and monitored.
Dogs that bite humans, even if not reported or just a minor bite, should be re-trained immediately. During the training they should be isolated from children or individuals other than the trainer. For most of these dogs immediate professional re-training should be done to avoid any further serious problems.
The sad thing about liability with dogs is that most of the time it is incorrect training, lack of attention or abuse that creates an aggressive dog. If your dog starts showing any signs of aggression, even just growling at you, take this as a serious warning sign that the dog is beginning to be out of control. If you are an experienced dog trainer you will likely be able to work with the pet yourself to re-train and correct the issues that have caused the aggression. If you are not, seek professional assistance from a certified and experienced trainer.
Some dogs develop neurological conditions and even some genetic diseases that can cause a dog to become aggressive. Consult with your vet if you notice any behavioral changes in your dog that seem to indicate increasingly aggressive behavior towards people or animals.