Your Dog, Your Responsibility

While being a pet owner can be fun and rewarding, it also comes with certain responsibilities. Besides enjoying the dog, and the dog providing companionship, a dog owner has to make sure that both the neighbors and the general public alike are safe and not disturbed by their pet of choice. Nothing can be as irritating as a barking dog, or as frightening as a dog who is not in control by his or her owner. Being aware of everything from dog license laws to dog bite laws will keep the owner in compliance legally, and hopefully earn a good neighbor status as well.

Educate yourself on the state leash law or any local laws which may apply to you. Most leash laws state that all dogs should be under “reasonable control”. Is the animal controlled just by being on a leash? Most often, no, a dog can be very strong, and can get away from the owner much more easily than one may think. If your pet has gotten off leash, you may be in violation of the state leash law. You may possibly receive a fine, or you may even find yourself dealing with a dog bite lawyer if your animal has attacked or bitten someone while off leash. Even if your pet is normally kept behind a fence, you would be legally responsible if it got out somehow. Dog bite laws generally state that the owner is completely responsible for the animal’s actions, unless it can be shown that the victim trespassed or was teasing the dog.

Barking dogs are a community nuisance which may be covered by local laws. It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that their canine is not a public nuisance. Municipalities establish laws which are meant to create a certain standard and establish the means by which they can enforce dog license laws. Many cities, and counties have passed ordinances to control nuisance dogs. This would include persistent barking which the owner does not control.

If a dog has left a mess in a public area, it is the responsibility of the owners clean up after their dogs. Some municipalities may impose a fine if the owner has not cleaned up after their pet. Almost every jurisdiction imposes laws which require that dogs be licensed, in addition to being immunized against rabies.

An irresponsible pet owner can be subjected to fines and having their dog placed in impound. If an uncontrolled canine is picked up by animal control, the fines can be steep. There may be court costs and license fees in addition to penalties. You may also be charged for boarding at the animal shelter. It is also important to remember that your pet may become harmed, or cause harm to someone else’s pet or attack and bite. The victim will more than likely hire a dog bite lawyer to deal with your insurance company and file a claim for their injuries.

Pet ownership can be wonderful, but know your responsibilities and take them seriously.

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