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Does a Beware of Dog sign make me more liable?

Kenosha, WI |

I want to post a Beware of Dog sign by our front door and back door area. But I have heard it makes me more liable that it says I'm admitting a dangerous dog. I mainly want it to deter someone from breaking in or stealing since we have had problems in the neighborhood lately.

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Attorney answers 6

Best Answer

No. The sign itself does not make you more liable. Plenty of people who do not have dogs put them up to scare away burglars.

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.


Some states actually have a "strict liability" rule for dog bites (i.e. if your dog bites someone, you are liable no matter whether or not you knew of the dog's dangerous propensities). If this is the case, it may not matter but, you should consult with an attorney licensed in WI to know for sure.

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Need more facts; for example want kind of dog, what is it demeanor, etc. Regardless, do the right thing is always decent and proper.

Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff


I have heard this theory as well. If you want to alert people that there are dogs in your home, you can post a sign that says "dog on property" or "dog in yard", or something similar.

If we do not have a signed fee agreement I am not your attorney and this is not legal advice.


The posting of the "Beware of Dog" sign will probably make you less liable. As a homeowner or tenant you have a duty to warn of know hazards. That is what positing the Beware of Dog sign is a notice to anyone entering your propoerty that you have a dog.

Here an excertpt of the statute: "174.02 Owner's Liability for Damage Caused by Dog; Penalties

"... (1) Liability for Injury. (a) Without notice. Subject to § 895.045 [the comparative negligence statute] and except as provided in § 895.57(4) [granting immunity to dog owner for unauthorized release of confined animal], the owner of a dog is liable for the full amount of damages caused by the dog injuring or causing injury to a person, domestic animal or property."

This is not intended as legal advice. It is only provided for educational purposes and cannot be relied upon as legal advice. Further no attorney client relationship is or has been formed by answering this question.


You are strictly liable under Wisconsin's Dog-Bite Statute regardless of the sign. However, posting the sign or a no trespass may impose more responsbility on the person bitten. If you have a concern about your dog biting a visitor, put the dog in a kennel or other room. You may also want to review your insurance to make certain dog bites are covered.

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