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What if my dogs bite a trespasser (or just somebody i did not invite) can somebody explain the logic behind the below question?

Denver, CO |

had some kids trying to sell something at my house the other day. our house has a design flaw and you have to enter the back yard to get to the front door. the dogs freaked out that someone was in their yard. they are Belgian malinois (Belgian shepherds). the kids (about 16-17 years old) freaked out and huddled in the corner and the dogs are trained not to bite although i see nothing wrong with the barking. i was home to tell them to get out of the yard, but now i am worried that someone else might be dumb enough to ignore the sign posted on the fence and get hurt when we are not home. I have been told that even though someone trespasses in your yard the owner can still be held accountable for biting an intruder. i am having difficulties grasping the logic behind this rule/ law.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Sorry, but the law is the law - take the proper precautions regarding restraining your dogs etc. & make sure you have adequate homeowners insurance. I love dogs, but in California where I am licensed we have a "no first bit' law & liability is very strict on dog owners. Check with a local attorney for the laws in your state. Good luck

    This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.


  2. The problem is how you have your house and the dogs set up. if this were a normal situation and someone scaled your privacy fence and was bit, then it would be their fault an you would not be liable. however, your situation presently puts innocent solicitors and even guests in danger.

    The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are interested in his legal services, feel free to call Chris at (303) 409-7635 at his law office in the Denver Tech Center. All initial consultations are free of charge.


  3. If that is the law in your state (as it is in many others , unless they change it you must comply or suffer the consequences.


  4. Better add some fence to protect the walkway to the front door


  5. The logic behind the negligence law is that if you know your dog has the potential to injure someone, you need to take steps to make sure that doesn't happen. While your no trespassing sign is good, the design flaw forcing people to expose themselves to potential danger is a problem.

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