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Dog-Bite Laws: Missouri Common Law: Missouri uses “case-made” law to decide whether the dog owner and/or keeper is liable for damages and injuries caused by dogs. Missouri still doesn’t have state statutes on dog-bite liability, unlike most states

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Dog-Bite Laws: Missouri

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dog bite laws missouri
Dog-Bite Laws: Missouri
  • Common Law: Missouri uses “case-made” law to decide whether the dog owner and/or keeper is liable for damages and injuries caused by dogs.
  • Missouri still doesn’t have state statutes on dog-bite liability, unlike most states
    • Missouri cities (and counties) MAY have ordinances regulating dogs (and other animals like cats and livestock)
      • Example: City leash ordinances
pet statistics
Pet Statistics
  • There are approximately 68 million owned dogs in the United States.
  • Four in ten (or 40 million) U.S. households own at least one dog.
  • Most owners own one dog (63%).
  • About one-fourth (24%) of owners own two dogs.
  • Thirteen percent of owners own three or more dogs.
  • There is an equal number of male and female dogs owned in the United States.
  • Twenty percent of owned dogs were adopted from an animal shelter.
  • On average, dog owners spent $196 on veterinary related expenses in the past 12 months.
  • Seven of ten owned dogs are spayed or neutered.
  • There are approximately 73 million owned cats in the United States.
  • Three in ten (or 34.7 million) U.S. households own at least one cat.
  • One half of cat-owning households (49%) own one cat; the remaining (51%) own two or more. There are a similar number of owned female (51%) versus male (49%) cats in the U.S.
  • Twenty percent of owned cats were adopted from an animal shelter.
  • Cat owners spent an average of $104 on veterinary related expenses in the past 12 months.
  • Eight of ten owned cats are spayed or neutered.
  • Source: American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) 2001-2002 National Pet Owners Survey
dog and dog bite statistics
Dog and Dog Bite Statistics
  • Dog attack victims in the US suffer over $1 billion in monetary losses  every year (average dog bite claim cost insurers $16,600)
  • Dogs bite nearly 2% of the U.S. population -- more than 4.7 million people annually
  • Almost 800,000 bites per year -- one out of every 6 -- are serious enough to require medical attention
  • An American has a one in 50 chance of being bitten by a dog each year
  • The vast majority of biting dogs (77%) belong to the victim's family or a friend
  • The majority of dog attacks (61%) happen at home or in a familiar place.
  • In the US from 1979 to 1996, 304 people in the US died from dog attacks, including 30 in California (most of the deceased were children)
  • Dog bites send nearly 368,000 victims to hospital emergency departments per year (1,008 per day).
  • For every fatal dog bite in the United States, there are 230,000 bites that are not treated by a physician
  • Getting bitten by a dog is the second most frequent cause of visits to emergency rooms caused by 9 activities common among children
study of dog bites 1982 2006
Study of Dog Bites: 1982-2006
  • Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios and their mixes are responsible for 74% of attacks that were included in the study, 68% of the attacks upon children, 82% of the attacks upon adults, 65% of the deaths, and 68% of the maimings.
  • In more than two-thirds of the cases included in the study, the life-threatening or fatal attack was apparently the first known dangerous behavior by the animal in question
does missouri follow the first bite rule
Does Missouri follow the “first-bite rule”?
  • No, not any longer
  • Under this former approach to liability for a dog’s bite, the owner or keeper was not liable for the first time his dog bit someone, but was strictly liable for any subsequent bite incidents
    • This rule encouraged dog owners/keepers to destroy, dump/abandon, or to give away any dog that had bitten someone
new improved one bite rule two prong test
NEW & IMPROVED One-Bite Rule: Two-Prong Test
  • Does the dog have a dangerous propensity? AND
  • Did the dog owner/keeper know or should have known about this dangerous propensity?
what are dangerous propensities
What are “dangerous propensities?”
  • The JURY will decide this, as it is a question solely of fact
  • Considerations:
    • Has the dog bitten anyone?
    • Does the dog threaten people with vicious barking and growling?
    • Does the dog chase or jump at people?
    • Does the dog do “things” which might seriously injure a person, such as jump up on them when they are standing near the edge of a porch?
does the two prong test also apply to other animals
Does the “two-prong” test also apply to other animals?
  • Yes
    • Cats
    • Goats
    • Horses
    • Cows
    • Pigs
    • Geese
    • Roosters
    • Other pets
what dog bite liability rule do other states use
What dog-bite liability rule do other states use?
  • Two-Prong Rule:
    • 22 states: Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Texas
  • Strict Liability: The owner/keeper is liable unless there is provocation
    • 28 States: Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Oklahoma, Indiana, California, Florida
states with strict liability dog bite statutes
States with Strict Liability Dog-Bite Statutes
  • Alabama Ala. Code § 3-6-1 Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 11-1020, 1025 California Cal. Civ. Code § 3342 Colorado Col. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13.21.124 Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 22-357 Delaware Del. Code Ann., tit. 7, § 1711 District of Columbia D.C. Code Ann. § 6-1012 Florida Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 767.01, 767.04 Georgia Ga. Code Ann. § 51-2-7 Hawaii Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 663-9, 663-9.1 Illinois 510 Ill. Comp. Stat., § 5116 Indiana Ind. Code § 15-5-12-1 IowaIowa Code Ann. § 351.28 Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat. § 258.275 Louisiana La. Civ. Code, art. 2321 Maine Me. Rev. Stat. Ann., tit. 7, § 3961 Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws Ann., ch. 140, § 155 Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 287.351 Minnesota Minn. Stat. Ann. § 347.22 Montana Mont. Code Ann. § 27-1-715 Nebraska Rev. Stat. § 54-601 New Hampshire N. H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 466:19 New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 4:19-16 OhioOhio Rev. Code Ann. § 955.28 Oklahoma Okla. Stat. Ann., tit. 4, § 42.1 Pennsylvania 3 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 459-502(b) Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws § 4-13-16 South Carolina S.C. Code Ann. § 47-3-110 Utah Utah Code Ann. § 18-1-1 Washington Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 16.08.040 West Virginia W. Va. Code § 19-20-13 Wisconsin Wis. Stat. Ann. § 174.02
states applying the one bite rule only
States Applying The "ONE-BITE RULE" ONLY
  • Tennessee
  • Delaware
  • New Mexico
  • Georgia
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • Idaho
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming
  • Maryland
  • Alaska
  • Mississippi
  • Oregon
  • Arkansas
  • Missouri
  • Texas
  • South Dakota
  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • Kansas
  • North Dakota
provocation stehl v dose illinois 1980
ProvocationStehl v. Dose (Illinois, 1980)
  • German shepherd was kept tied on a 25-foot chain
  • Plaintiff offered to take the dog as he needed a watch dog
  • Plaintiff went to pick up the dog, and was feeding it meat scraps and getting to know it when the dog bit him
illinois statute strict liability unless
Illinois Statute: Strict Liability Unless…
  • If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself in any place where he may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in damages to such person for the full amount of the injury sustained.
arkansas dog bite case hamby v haskins 1982
Arkansas Dog-Bite CaseHamby v. Haskins (1982)
  • Plaintiff and her sister were driving in a rural area looking for a garage sale. They stopped at Defendant’s house to ask directions. Yard wasn’t fenced. There was a large dog near the porch. Plaintiff walked up on the porch and knocked on the door. No one answered, so she stepped off the porch and started walking back to her car.
  • Dog bite Plaintiff on the left calf as she was walking back to her car
arkansas case continued
Arkansas Case: Continued
  • Defenses of dog owner
    • Defendant had no prior knowledge of the vicious nature of his dog
    • Plaintiff was a trespasser
  • Subsequent conduct is admissible to prove the dog’s dangerous nature
    • Police attacked by dog during follow up investigation
  • Verdict/Judgment for $12,000 for the Plaintiff
missouri case boyer v callahan and downs 1966
Missouri CaseBoyer v. Callahan and Downs (1966)
  • Callahan took his collie dog to Down’s farm since he couldn’t keep it at his home in the city as it had annoyed a neighbor who complained to the police
  • Down's wife testified that the dog lunged at one of the men who worked on the farm and bit him on the arm
  • Dog bit Boyer on a private and very sensitive part of his anatomy as he was relieving himself while camping with permission on Down’s farm
boyer v callahan and downs continued
Boyer v. Callahan and Downs(Continued)
  • Held:  No liability of Callahan, as there was no evidence he had any knowledge of a propensity of the dog to bite
  • Held: Remanded for a new trial as for the case by the Plaintiff against the Downs
watch dogs when if ever is the dog owner keeper liable
Watch Dogs: When, if ever, is the dog owner/keeper liable?
  • Daytime: Duty to restrain "watch dogs" and to give warnings
  • Nighttime: Less duty to restrain watch dogs, as the darkness of nighttime is a warning
  • Inside the Home: No liability as to intruders bitten by watch dogs
  • Inside Uninhabited Buildings: Duty to warn would-be intruders if the dog might be considered "deadly force"
barking dogs can neighbors get damages and or injunctions
Barking Dogs: Can Neighbors Get Damages and/or Injunctions ?

Ohio case of Zang v. Engle (2000)

  • Zangs sought permanent injunctive relief and monetary damages for an alleged private nuisance.
  • The Zangs, who lived next door to the Engles, alleged the Engles' four dogs engaged in excessive and continuous barking
  • Held: That the Engles be permanently enjoined from allowing any of their dogs to bark in a manner that creates an unreasonable amount of noise while said dogs are outside their residence such that it interferes with the peace, quiet and normal enjoyment of the Zangs' residence.
Appellees kept a log of the dog barking
    • Entries were made almost everyday from December 15, 1997 to March 13, 1999
    • Most days, the dogs were described as barking continuously for at least fifteen minutes up to over one hour.
  • Appellees also videotaped the dogs barking
    • Thirteen videotapes were admitted into evidence during the trial