What is the relevant Statute and what does it say?
Wisconsin Statutes section 174.02 specifically addresses damages caused by a dog which injures a person or causes property damage. In Wisconsin, the owner of a dog (and sometimes a dogsitter or anyone who is temporarily in control of the dog, or any of those people's insurers) is responsible for the dog's acts. If the owner knew about the dog having been involved in a previous incident where the dog caused damage to a person or property, that owner is liable for double the actual damages caused in the second incident. In addition to the damages caused to a plaintiff, the owner can have fines levied for any dog attack incidents.
So what can/should I do with this knowledge?
If you are the victim of a dog bite / dog attack, I encourage you to read my Wisconsin Dog Bite Victims' Guide at the link below. If you have sustained property damage because of a dog, I suggest exploring possible legal representation to pursue a recovery for those damages or negotiating directly with the owner or person. If you are the owner of a dog which you suspect or know may be dangerous, I suggest considering ways to minimize the possibility of the dog getting lose or attacking people or property. If the dog has already bit someone, you should consult with an attorney immediately and explore whether any insurance policy you have might provide coverage for the damage done by your dog. Be aware that most people have very negative attitudes toward those who knowingly keep vicious animals and then fail to take adequate precautions to protect others and that Wisconsin has created a law to specifically punish this kind of reckless behavior.
Thank you for reviewing this guide! If you have found value in this guide, I would be happy to speak to you about your particular circumstances. My firm offers free initial consultations for personal injury and property damage victims and also knows how to defend personal injury and property damage cases. We practice in all Wisconsin courts. We would be happy to research and refer you to competent local counsel if having us represent you would not work for any reason. I am always looking to improve the quality of my guides, so please do let me know if you have any suggestions by following the link below and sending me your input.
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