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Dog Parks- What rights do dog owners have if a dog bites a child who technically is not supposed to inside?

Covina, CA |

Hello, Question regarding off lease gated dog parks. Most dog parks have signs with specific rules i.e. no food, no one under 16 yrs, dogs must be spayed or neutered, must have license, etc.

My question is if a dog inside a dog park whose minding his/her own business but a little child comes into the dog section park what rights to dog owners have say if a dog bites this child?
I'm only asking because I've seen stupid parents let their child/children inside the dog section of the park to play with dogs and some of these parents do not even have dog themselves, they think it's a playground for kids to pet these dogs.

I mean they aren't supposed to be there in the first place because a kid might run or scare the dog etc.
At times I do tell these parents to please hold the child or leave

To be exact I've seen a couple of toddlers running around and at times get knocked down by these dogs. SPECIFIC RULE ABOUT CHILDREN, THESE PARENTS DO NOT EVEN SEEK PERMISSION FROM OWNERS. i KNOW TO GET WITNESSES TOO FROM OTHER DOG OWNERS, WE NEED TO PROTECT OURSELVES =) Children 12 years and under must be closely supervised by an adult at all times. Infants and toddlers are not recommended. Parents must ask permission from the dog owner for children to play with a dog.

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Attorney answers 5


First, my sincere regret that you encountered this unfortunate situation. An attorney would need to see what the contract for usage of the park by underage persons says. My suggestion is that you contact an attorney and take your documentation with you.. I have personally dealt with other California claims such as this one. Having proper representation can protect your cause of action. Best of luck to you.

View my website & give me a call for a FREE consultation if you are a California resident 877-427-2752 or you can email me at I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference



THANKS everyone for your valuable information. I'm not in this predicament which is why I was stating what if but knowing the serious issues that may occur. I will just continue to either verbally ask children to leave the dog section of the park and will also let parents know to please respect the dog off leash section park rules and not allow their toddlers run around where they can either get a. bit or b. get knocked down. The children have their own playground in the park by the way which is spacious, they just at times like to come into the dog park because they think the dogs are cute but there's different dogs of different temperaments and some of the dogs may have issues especially if they are rescue dogs but for the most part these dogs are good. I will also scare them and let them know not all of these dogs are vaccinated and can possibly have diseases so why take that chance with your child? If they still do not want to oblige then I will write a written statement explaining the park rules, take a picture of the actual park rule sign and to please prohibit your children from trying to pet my dog or else I will not be responsible and it's at their own risk, If they do no not want to sign that then I will have my friend video tape the whole situation me writing the letter, explaining the dog park rules etc in case I would ever need to bring this up in court. If it gets too uncomfortable I'll simply leave the dog park section take him walking then return when they are gone or something. I know that may be too extreme but I always like to know about the law in case I ever need to cover myself so I like to know my rights. But the lawyer who said those rules apply for the park and not necessarily dog owners hit me in a way that I know I need to protect myself. Thanks again.


When kids are bit by dogs, claims are made. Period. While there may be a defense, good plaintiff's attorneys know that such claims are viable. Why are children not to be in the dog park area?

The signage is interesting. It protects the government from claims -- not dog owners.

I will be interested in seeing if I have colleagues with differing views on this. I am not licensed in California, but instead in Colorado.

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


Bottom line is when a child is bitten, the parents will typically seek compensation. Simply report it to your insurance company to resolve.


Id be very careful taking a case like that in general. there would be a strong argument for fault on the part of the parent. The leash law would not apply.


Be safe and report this to your homeowners insurance to protect yourself against a potential future claim. With that being said, it sounds like the parents would be comparatively negligent for failing to supervise their child. Good luck.

The above is general information only and is not legal advice. The information provided does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney until we sign a retainer agreement.

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