By Cathy Warmbrod, Attorney
McDonald, Levy and Taylor, PLLC
Your Duty As A Dog Owner
Were you one of the many people who adopted a new pet during the Covid pandemic to keep you company while you stayed home? In Tennessee, you have a duty to keep your dog under reasonable control at all times, so don’t let your dogs out to roam the neighborhood.
You could face civil liability if your dog injures a neighbor or some other person who is out in public on or on private property with permission. In these situations, it would not matter whether you knew your dog had vicious tendencies. This type of dog bite case is a strict liability case, which means the injured person does not have to prove you had knowledge that your dog might hurt someone. But you might not be liable for a dog bite if your dog was trying to protect you from the injured person or their own dog; if your dog was in a kennel or enclosure and the injured person entered that enclosure; or if the injured person provoked your dog.
Did You Know Your Dog Had Vicious Tendencies?
In other situations, such as when your dog bites someone who is in your own yard or in your house with permission, the injured person would need to prove that you knew or should have known that your dog had vicious tendencies. They would need to prove that you did not take the necessary precautions to prevent your dog from injuring someone.