Dog Bite Liability - Info and Tips for Residents of Conway, Arkansas

Dog Bite Liability - Info and Tips for Residents of Conway, Arkansas

September 06, 2023

Arkansas is a state known for its natural beauty and friendly communities, where dogs often play an integral role in people’s lives. While most dogs in Arkansas are well-behaved and beloved members of the family, there are instances when even the most docile canine companion can become unpredictable. In Arkansas, like many other states, homeowners can be held liable if their dog bites someone. Understanding the legal implications of such an incident is essential to ensure the well-being of both your pet and those around you.

Arkansas Dog Bite Laws: 

Arkansas has specific laws governing dog bite liability, which are designed to protect both dog owners and the public. They establish the framework for determining liability in cases of dog bites or attacks.

Strict Liability and Negligence

Arkansas law imposes strict liability on dog owners if their dog bites someone in certain circumstances. This means that the owner can be held responsible for any injuries caused by their dog, regardless of the dog’s past behavior or the owner’s knowledge of it.

In situations where a dog bite occurs on the owner’s property or when the victim provokes the dog, liability may still exist based on the concept of negligence. To establish negligence, the injured party must demonstrate that the dog owner failed to exercise reasonable care in controlling their dog. Examples of negligence might include: failing to properly restrain the dog, not warning visitors about a known aggressive dog, or knowingly allowing a dangerous dog to roam freely.

Trespasser Exception

Arkansas law does provide some defenses for dog owners in certain situations, such as if the victim was trespassing on the owner's property or was provoking the dog. However, these defenses may not always absolve the owner of all liability, and the specifics of each case can vary widely.

Comparative Fault

Arkansas employs a comparative fault system, which means that if the person bitten contributed to the incident in any way, their compensation may be reduced proportionally. For example, if someone was teasing or provoking the dog, their compensation might be reduced accordingly.

Preventing Liability

To avoid liability in the event of a dog bit incident, homeowners in Arkansas can take several precautions:

  • Ensure your dog is properly trained and socialized. 
  • Keep your dog on a leash or in a fenced yard when outside the home. 
  • Post warning signs if your dog has a history of aggressive behavior. 
  • Be cautious when introducing your dog to new people or situations. 
  • Act responsibly and take appropriate measures to prevent your dog from causing harm.

Owning a dog for citizens of Conway, and Arkansas in general, comes with legal responsibilities, and homeowners should be aware of the potential liability if their dog bites someone. While the state’s laws provide some protection for victims of dog bites, responsible pet ownership can help reduce the risk of such incidents and protect both you and your pet, and others in the community.