Dogs can be valuable family members and companions, however, when considering whether to get a dog for you or your family, there are many factors to take into account before adding a dog to your life. Each state and local community has particular rules regarding dog ownership. When considering whether to get a dog or what kind of dog, you should first determine whether the breed is classified as dangerous and if you are able to take on the responsibility of proper care taking for an animal classified as dangerous. Potential pet owners should also consider the other animals in the house, as some local ordinances will prohibit a household from having more than three dogs. Additionally, you must register and get a license for your dog through the county auditor in Ohio. Some persons are not allowed to own certain dogs due to their previous history, for example, persons convicted of a felony after December 1, 2013, for a period of three years after all sanctions are lifted.
Depending on the breed of dog, if your dog bites another person, there can be very serious ramifications. The Ohio General Assembly passed a law in 2012 stating that if a dog that has not been provoked, i.e. not being teased, abused or coming to the defense of a person not engaged in illegal activity, and bites another, the owner or responsible party for the dog could be charged with a range of criminal offenses, including fourth-degree misdemeanor to fifth-degree felony. In Ohio, owners are strictly liable for the actions of their dogs, unless the dog was being teased or tormented by the person injured. Strict liability means that a party is found liable automatically, without having to establish the fault, due to the inherently dangerous nature.
These laws also now require dogs that are classified as “dangerous” to be spayed or neutered, have regular rabies shots, be microchipped, and wear a specific tag warning of the dangerous propensities. Owners must pay a $50 annual fee for keeping a dangerous animal and must have signage on their property warning of the dog. All dogs that can be classified as “vicious” are to be put down unless a judge would find a reasoning otherwise. However, dog owners can appeal these classifications in order to protect their animal from being subject to these specifications. It is important for all pet owners to maintain adequate supervision over their animals, no matter the animal’s classification.
If you have suffered serious injury as the result of an attack by another person’s animal, please contact us at 419-241-5500 or email us, using our website. The attorneys at Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC are conveniently located in Toledo, OH and have over 40 years of experience helping those with a personal injury issues to achieve satisfactory results.
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