If any dog injures a person, the dog's owner or keeper will be liable for damages, so long as the victim was not committing a trespass or other tort or was not teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog at the time of the injury. In cases where the victim is under seven years old, the law presumes that the child was not committing a trespass or other tort and was not teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog, and the burden of proof is on the defendant. Finally, in cases where the dog is owned by a minor, the child's parent or guardian will be liable for damages.
In Massachusetts, local authorities can issue orders regarding control of certain dogs. If a local authority orders a dog to be restrained, and the dog thereafter injures a person, the dog's owner or keeper will be liable in treble, or triple, the amount of damages sustained.
A person may file a complaint to the hearing authority to determine whether a dog is a nuisance dog or a dangerous dog.
If a dog is deemed to be dangerous, the hearing authority will order one or more of the following:
No dog shall be deemed dangerous:
Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.
Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.