Avoiding Liability As A Guard Dog Owner - German shepard dog

Avoiding Liability As A Guard Dog Owner

If you’re a property owner, you might want to keep it safe from intruders. While some alarm systems can accomplish this, many people prefer to get a guard dog instead to add an element of intimidation. For some people, guard dogs that are trained provide sufficient, functional protection in that they are able to provide a physical and visible threat that can better deter intruders. At Eric Roy Law Firm, we make our clients who work with our personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, NV aware that while dog owner liability for dog bite injuries doesn’t extend to trespassers in most instances of personal injury, it’s a mistake to assume that this applies to all instances.

What are trespassers?

These are people who have unlawfully entered a property. But simply entering it without the owner’s permission doesn’t immediately make it unlawful. For instance, a voter registration official can enter a property if there’s no locked gate or no “no soliciting” sign immediately visible. That said, the owner has to make it known that they do not want individuals to come onto their property by means of warnings, barriers, and locks. Individuals who go out of their way to ignore the warnings and traverse the barriers are considered trespassers.

In the case of “discovered” trespassers, the property owner’s vulnerability to liability is heightened. As it is with any average citizen, property owners cannot engage in any willful conduct and go out of their way to injure someone, including trespassers. This means that if an owner were to discover the trespasser on their property, they can’t lose their dog onto the trespasser for the deliberate purpose of injuring them.

What can be done: If you want to do guard dog ownership the right way in order to avoid a dog bite lawsuit then you need to follow a set of protocols.

What about warning signs?

Starting with the typical “no trespassing” sign, a property owner needs to put up signs to first convey that individuals other than the property owner and the invited are not wanted. One also needs to put up a sign warning potential trespassers of the dog on the property. This is meant to further intimidate and inform a potential trespasser that trespassing means deliberately exposing themselves to danger.

What is the meaning of having a guard dog chained?

While it’s not completely necessary, it can present a problem for the property owner if the dog is not chained up or otherwise restrained in any way, especially if it has a known history of dangerous tendencies. Chaining it up provides the extra layer of protection for the property owner and conveys to courts that you’re providing the duty of care that you need to. If a trespasser goes out of their way to get within range of the restrained dog and aggravates them, only they will be considered responsible for their own injuries.