States define animal control laws, encompassing bites, attacks, and an owner’s responsibility in the process. In a case concerning any one of these instances, such laws assist with attributing responsibility.
In Connecticut, what points should you be aware of, should a bite or attack occur?
Leash and Roaming Laws
As a dog’s owner or keeper is responsible for all damage the pet causes, the first point involves using leashes and preventing the animal from roaming.
In general, it is illegal in Connecticut for a dog to roam and create a disturbance, such as growling, biting, or bothering anyone using a highway, road, or sidewalk.
Local governments may create their own ordinances, but on a state level, while dogs do not have to be on a leash at all times, they must be controlled enough to prevent wandering off onto other properties or into the street. Leashes, as well, must be used at all state parks. For all such instances, an owner may be fined.
As well, leash and roaming laws extend to “vicious” dogs. If an owner intentionally allows this dog to roam and it physically injures someone who was not teasing or torturing it, a fine, jail, or combined penalty may result if such an instance occurred over the past year.
When a Bite Occurs
If a dog bites another person, an Animal Control Officer or a Department of Agriculture Commissioner must place the animal in a 14-day quarantine and, from there, can decide if the animal needs to be restrained or killed.
As the animal is kept in a pound, veterinary hospital, or another approved location, the owner legally must pay all fees. The Animal Control Officer, during this time, must notify the victim that the animal is being quarantined and then again if the dog is to be restrained or killed. As well, if the owner does not comply with this decision, the Animal Control Officer can take and remove the dog.
In Connecticut, owners cannot own a dog considered to be a nuisance or who is “vicious” without facing fines or imprisonment. That said, the owner is responsible for a dog’s behavior, unless a person above 7 years of age is found to be trespassing on the owner’s property or who is teasing, abusing, or torturing the dog.
If multiple dogs attack an individual, all owners are collectively responsible for all fines.
What Can a Victim Do?
After a dog bite occurs, the victim must report the attack to the state, town, or regional Animal Control Officer, who must then investigate the attack.
As well, if the victim gets visibly bitten or has other physical evidence of harm from an attack that occurred off the owner’s property, he or she has the right to kill the dog during the incident.
Additionally, if investigations lead nowhere and you’re left with a bite resulting in emotional damage, permanent physical scarring, expensive medical bills, and months of treatment and therapy, getting a lawyer involved becomes necessary to resolve the case and obtain fair compensation.