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Dog bite liability in Ohio

They say that dogs are man's best friend. Though this may be true, sometimes dogs that are ill-tempered can pose a threat to humans. Your initial thought after a dog bite may be shock as dog bites can result in severe injury. Another worry you may have is liability. Who is liable if I face medical bills, time off work, or emotional distress?

Ohio is a strict liability state regarding dog bites. If you or someone you know experience a dog bite in Ohio, the owner, harborer or keeper of that dog will be held liable for any injuries or damages. You as the victim do not have to prove the owner was negligent, but prove the bite happened and that it was the cause of an injury. It is important to know the dog bite laws in Ohio whether you are the victim or owner in the scenario.

Dangerous Dogs

Ohio requires registration for a dog that has bitten or otherwise attacked or harmed another person. Dangerous dogs are subject to serious restrictions. They must be on a leash shorter than six feet and kept in a locked cage or yard. The exception to this leash restriction is while hunting.

You must register your dog with the county auditor and they must always wear a tag designating them as dangerous. When selling a dangerous dog, you must notify the buyer of the dog's status and let the county auditor know of the sale. If you fail to control your dangerous dog three times, you will need to get liability insurance to cover the chance that a bite happens again. You will also need to quarantine your dog for 10 days following a bite. This is to allow you to observe the dog to determine if they have rabies. The victim of the bite needs treatment as soon as possible if the dog has rabies.

Exceptions to the law

Chapter 955 of the Ohio Revised Code says that the owner of the dog is liable unless the injury, death, or loss resulted from the person "who, at the time, was committing or attempting to commit criminal trespass or another criminal offense other than a minor misdemeanor on the property of the owner." Additionally, if the dog was teased, tormented or abused prior to the bite, the owner will not be accountable.

If you have been bitten by a dog, or if your dog bites someone, you may want to speak with an attorney to discuss Ohio dog bite laws further. 

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