South Dakota Dog Law

Liability Statute

South Dakota does not have a Dog Bite Statute.

Common Law Liability

To establish liability, the injured person must prove that the dog owner knew or had reason to know that the dog had vicious propensities and that the owner was negligent in failing to prevent the injury.

Vicious Dog Statute

The Meaning of a “Vicious Dog”

A “vicious dog” is:

  • any dog which, when unprovoked, in a vicious or terrorizing manner approaches in an apparent attitude of attack, or bites, inflicts injury, assaults, or otherwise attacks a person in public;
  • any dog which, on private property, when unprovoked, in a vicious or terrifying manner approaches in an apparent attitude of attack, or bites, or inflicts injury, or otherwise attacks a mailman, meter reader, serviceman, journeyman, delivery man, or other employed person who is on the owner’s property with permission.
  • Under this statute, a dog cannot be declared vicious if an injury is sustained by a person who was committing a trespass or other tort on the owner’s premises, or if the injured person was teasing, tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog, or committing or attempting to commit a crime at the time of the injury.

Liability of Owners of Vicious Dogs

Under this statute, owning a vicious dog is a public nuisance. A person directly affected by the dog or a government official can file a civil action or an action to have the owner abate, or stop, the nuisance.

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