THERE ARE NO BAD DOGS, ONLY BAD OWNERS: REPLACING STRICT LIABILITY WITH A NEGLIGENCE STANDARD IN DOG BITE CASES (.pdf file - 88.53 KB)
By Lynn A. Epstein
Should the law treat dogs as vicious animals or loving family companions? This article analyzes common law strict liability as applied to dog bite cases and the shift to modern strict liability statutes, focusing on the defense of provocation. It discusses the inconsistency in the modern law treatment of strict liability in dog bite cases. The article then resolves why negligence is the proper cause of action in dog bite cases. The Author draws comparisons among dog owner liability in dog bite cases, parental liability for a child’s torts, and property owner liability for injuries caused by his property. The Author concludes by proposing a negligence standard to be applied in dog bite cases.