Can You Sue a Shelter for a Dog Bite?

When a dog bite occurs in an animal shelter or from a dog who has been adopted from an animal shelter, there may be a question of whether or not the animal shelter can be considered legally responsible for the damages that result from the bite. In some cases, yes. However, this type of claim is quite challenging and requires the representation of an experienced dog bite lawyer.


Dog Bites Under California Law


California law deals with dog bites and other animal attacks under California Civil Code section 3342. This statute states that a dog’s owner may liable for a dog bite. Liability rests on if the bite caused injury and if the injured person was lawfully in a private place or public place at the time. Since shelter dogs don’t have an owner, this can leave attack victims feeling without recourse.


Did the Shelter Have Knowledge of a Dog’s Viciousness?


In some unfortunate cases, animal shelters in California covered up a dog’s violent history so it can be adopted. For example, if a dog is surrendered for biting, the shelter could choose to withhold this information. Then, the next person who adopts the dog may have no idea of the dog’s violent history.


If the dog bites the new adoptive family and the shelter had prior knowledge of the dog’s viciousness, the shelter could be accountable for any hospital bills, lost wages, and emotional pain and suffering. However, a case’s success hinges on proof of the shelter’s negligence. This evidence must be obtained and demonstrate that the shelter deliberately withheld information from the dog’s new owner.


When to Contact a Seasoned California Dog Bite Attorney


If you were bit by a dog at a shelter while looking to adopt and the shelter did nothing to keep the dog away from people, you may have a claim. Additionally, you may also have a claim if you adopted a dog that bit you and the shelter had prior knowledge of the dog’s vicious demeanor. At the Law Offices of Carl L. Brown, we can help. Call us today for information at (559) 431-4400.