Dog Bites and Fence Escapes: What You Need to Know

Dog Bites and Fence Escapes: What You Need to Know

As a homeowner, you take pride in maintaining a safe environment for your family, friends, and community. However, even with the best of intentions and precautions, accidents can happen. When a dog escapes from a fence or enclosure and bites someone, it can lead to physical harm, emotional trauma, and legal issues. If you find yourself in this difficult situation, it's important to understand your responsibilities and next steps.

Whose Responsibility Is It if My Neighbor's Dog Bites Someone?

If a neighbor's dog escapes their property and bites someone, it can lead to a complicated legal situation regarding responsibility and liability. As the victim, you may wonder who is at fault and liable for your injuries. Typically, there are a few parties that could potentially be responsible:

The dog owner. In most cases, the owner of the dog that bit you will be primarily liable for your injuries. They are responsible for properly containing and controlling their animal. Failure to do so that results in injury to another person or their property constitutes negligence. You may be able to recover damages from the owner to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.

The property owner. If the bite occurred on private property, the owner of that property could share some liability. For example, if a landlord fails to repair a hole in a fence that allows a tenant's dog to escape and bite someone, the landlord's negligence contributed to the incident. However, the dog owner is still primarily responsible for the animal's actions.

Government entities. Sometimes cities, counties or homeowners associations are responsible for maintaining fences, gates or other barriers that could have prevented the dog from escaping. If their failure to properly do so contributed to the bite, they may share liability with the dog owner. You would need to show that the government body knew or should have known about the needed repair or maintenance and did not take reasonable action.

In summary, while the dog owner typically bears primary responsibility in these situations, other parties could share liability if their negligence allowed the dog to escape and bite. Speaking with a personal injury attorney regarding the details of your incident can help determine the viability of a legal claim and identify all possibly liable and responsible parties.

What Should I Do if a Dog Escapes Its Yard and Bites Me or My Child?

If a dog escapes its yard and bites you or your child, it is important to take immediate action. First, seek medical attention right away. Dog bites can become infected if left untreated. You should thoroughly clean the wound, apply an antibiotic ointment, and cover it with a sterile bandage.

Next, report the incident to local authorities like the police or animal control. Provide details about the attack including the owner's name and contact information if known. Authorities may investigate and take further action to ensure public safety. They can also help determine if the dog's vaccinations are up to date. Rabies is a concern with any animal bite.

You should also contact a personal injury attorney to understand your legal rights. While the dog owner is typically liable in these situations, the specific details of the case matter. A lawyer can investigate the details of the attack, determine who is at fault, and help you pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Finally, consider contacting your insurance providers to file appropriate claims. Your health insurance can help cover medical costs. You may also have coverage for injuries caused by animals under your homeowners or renters insurance. Provide details about the incident along with bills, records, photos, and other documentation to support your claims.

Taking quick action after a dog attack is critical. Seek medical care, contact authorities, get legal counsel, and work with insurance providers to address health, safety, liability, and financial concerns. Though a traumatic experience, following the proper steps can help resolve issues as effectively as possible.

How Do I Prevent My Dog From Escaping the Yard?

To prevent your dog from escaping the yard, there are several precautions you should take as a responsible pet owner.

Reinforce Fencing

Check your existing fence for any damage or weak spots, and repair or replace as needed. Bury the bottom of the fence several inches into the ground or bend it at a 90-degree angle facing outward to prevent your dog from escaping underneath. Extend the height of shorter fences by attaching additional wire mesh or netting.

Secure Gates

Make sure all gates are properly latched and secured. Install self-closing mechanisms and double gates for added security. Padlocks, bolt locks or wire ties can also be used to keep gates firmly closed.

Provide Entertainment

Dogs often escape out of boredom or excess energy. Give your dog plenty of exercise, play and interactive dog toys to keep them stimulated when outside. Puzzle toys that dispense treats as your dog plays can keep them occupied for hours.

Supervise Your Dog

Always supervise your dog when they are in the yard, especially at first. Keep them on a leash if necessary until you are confident in your fence reinforcements and their training. Train your dog to come when called in case they do escape, and offer plenty of praise and treats when they respond. Consistent supervision and training is key.

Consider an Electronic Fence

For persistent escape artists, an electronic fence may be necessary. These fences deliver an electronic shock when your dog crosses the boundary, training them to stay within the yard. Proper introduction and training is required to be effective. Electronic fences should only be used under the guidance of a professional dog trainer.

By taking measures to reinforce your yard, secure gates, entertain and supervise your dog, you can do your part as a responsible pet owner to prevent unwanted escapes and keep your dog safe at home. If problems continue, don’t hesitate to contact a professional for guidance. Your dog’s safety is worth the investment.

What Are the Laws Regarding Dangerous Dogs in My State?

As a dog owner, it is important to understand the laws in your state regarding liability for injuries caused by your dog. Most states have specific statutes addressing strict liability for dog bites, which means that dog owners can be held legally responsible for bites and other injuries caused by their dogs, even if the owner was not negligent.

Strict Liability Laws

The majority of states have enacted strict liability dog bite statutes, commonly known as “dog bite statutes.” Under these laws, dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries caused by their dog biting a person. The victim does not need to prove that the owner was negligent. All the victim needs to show is that the injury was caused by the owner's dog.

Some states extend strict liability beyond dog bites to include any injury caused by a dog. A few states have mixed liability, where strict liability applies only if the dog has bitten someone in the past or has shown aggressive tendencies. In those states, victims may need to prove the owner's negligence if the dog has no prior history of aggression.

"One Bite" Rule

A minority of states still follow the “one bite rule,” where dog owners are not strictly liable for the first bite. Victims must prove that the owner knew or should have known the dog had vicious propensities in order to hold the owner liable. After the first bite, the owner is considered to have knowledge of the dog's aggression, so the owner can be held liable for subsequent injuries.

Local Ordinances

In addition to state laws, many cities and counties have their own ordinances addressing dangerous dogs. These ordinances may place additional requirements on owners of dogs that have bitten or shown aggression, such as keeping the dog in a secure enclosure, muzzling the dog in public, and posting "beware of dog" signs. Failure to comply with these ordinances can result in legal penalties.

Check with your local animal control department to determine the specific laws in your city or county regarding dangerous dogs and your responsibilities as a dog owner. Ensuring your dog remains properly contained and does not injure anyone will help avoid legal liability.

Do I Need a Lawyer if a Dog Bites Me or My Child?

If you or your child has been bitten by a dog that escaped from its owner's property, you may want to consider contacting a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can help determine who is liable in your specific situation and whether you are entitled to compensation.


In many cases, the dog owner can be held liable for bites and injuries caused by a dog that escaped their property. However, liability depends on several factors, including:

  • Whether the owner knew the dog had aggressive tendencies or a propensity to bite
  • If the owner took reasonable precautions to ensure the dog remained securely confined
  • If there were any leash laws or containment ordinances in place that the owner violated
  • The severity of your injuries

If the owner was clearly negligent in properly containing the animal, you likely have grounds to pursue legal action. An attorney can investigate the details of your incident and build a case to establish the owner's liability.


Victims of dog bites may be entitled to compensation for damages like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and permanent scarring or disfigurement. The specific types and amounts of compensation will depend on the details of your injuries. An lawyer can help determine what damages you incurred, calculate their monetary value, and fight to get you the maximum compensation allowed under the law.

Experience Matters

Dog bite and injury cases can be complex, especially when they involve containment and liability issues. An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to navigate the legal process, deal with insurance companies, and build a compelling case. They can handle the legal aspects so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. For the best chance of success, look for a lawyer with a proven track record of winning dog bite settlements and verdicts.

In summary, contacting an attorney is advisable if you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog that escaped confinement. A qualified personal injury lawyer can determine liability, pursue the compensation you deserve, and handle the legal details so you can move on from the traumatic experience.

Call Fletcher Law For Help With A Dog Bite Injury Case

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog that escaped from its owner's property, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. Property owners can be held liable if their dog bites someone after getting out due to negligent containment or fencing.

\n\n###Call Fletcher Law For Help With A Dog Bite Injury Case

The attorneys at Fletcher Law have over 20 years of experience handling dog bite injury and attack cases. We will investigate your claim thoroughly to determine who is responsible and make sure you receive full compensation. Our skilled litigators will:

•Review police and medical records related to the incident. We will gather evidence to build a strong case and determine the degree of negligence.

•Consult with experts in areas like veterinary medicine, animal behavior, and property standards. Their testimony can help prove that the dog had aggressive tendencies or that fencing was improperly installed or maintained.

•Determine appropriate damages which may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and permanent injuries. We will fight to recover damages that fully compensate you for your injuries.

•Handle negotiations with insurance companies and defense attorneys. We have a proven track record of achieving maximum settlements for our clients through mediation and litigation.

•Take your case to court if a fair settlement cannot be reached. Our litigation experience allows us to present compelling cases in front of judges and juries.

•Keep you informed and advised every step of the way. We believe in transparency and building trust through open communication with our clients.

If you were injured in a dog attack due to another's negligence, don't delay in contacting Fletcher Law. We offer free initial consultations and will not charge legal fees unless we recover damages for you. Call us today to discuss your case with a caring, knowledgeable attorney. Justice and compensation can be yours.