Pet Law: Sit and Stay for a Legal Treat! by Joel Zand We love our pets, but does the law love them too? Today, the answer is often a resounding “Yes.” There are laws to help you avoid choosing between giving up your home or your dog, pet trusts that guarantee care for your animal when you die, and a variety of other laws. Here is a closer look at some of the most commonly referenced laws.
DOG BITES AND THE LAW If you are the victim of an animal or dog bite, you should seek medical help immediately. If an animal bit you, it may bite others too. Local public health officials will need to test the animal for rabies, and a bite victim will likely need shots. Rabies vaccines are generally effective only for a few years, and need to be repeated regularly. If your dog bites someone, or if you have been bitten by another dog, don’t wait to investigate your legal rights. Animal bite victims may be entitled to compensation for injuries, medical expenses, and more. States have different owner liability standards in dog bite cases. California and Nebraska, for example, impose strict liability on owners for bites, even if their pet had never bitten anyone before. Other states have a “one-bite rule” which doesn’t make owners liable for a dog bite unless a 10
MetroPet Magazine M ARCH 2009
Metro Pet Magazine March Issue