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Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney / Blog / Dog Bites / Can You Be Held Responsible If Your Dog Bites Another Dog?

Can You Be Held Responsible If Your Dog Bites Another Dog?


The short answer is, “Yes, you can.” The owner of the dog that was bitten by your dog can hold you liable for the resulting damages and losses in Rhode Island. Rhode Island Gen. Laws § 4-13-16 provides that dog owners can be held responsible for property damage caused by their dogs.

Rhode Island law considers dogs and other animals to be property, which is why you can be sued for any injuries to other dogs and animals caused by your pet. If your dog injured another dog or your pet was bitten by someone else’s dog, contact our attorneys at Robert E. Craven & Associates to discuss your legal options.

What Damages Are Available When Your Dog Bites Another Dog?

Since a dog is considered its owner’s property, the dog owner can recover any reasonable damages to treat the dog’s injuries and restore it to its pre-bite condition. In other words, if your dog bites another dog, you may be ordered to pay for any expenses incurred by the dog owner when providing veterinary care for their pet.

Contrary to popular belief, pain and suffering damages are not available in dog vs. dog bite cases in Rhode Island because the law treats dogs as property.

Dog Bites in an Enclosed Area and Strict Liability in Rhode Island

Unlike in many other states, dog owners in Rhode Island are not held strictly liable for bites that occur outside their dog’s enclosed area. Under Rhode Island’s dog bite law, an enclosed area is defined as an area on the dog owner’s property that is securely fenced to keep the dog safely confined.

If your dog bites another dog in an enclosed area or on your property, the owner of the bitten dog must be able to prove that:

  1. Your dog is vicious; and
  2. You were aware of your dog’s viciousness.

Dog bites in an enclosed area are governed by Rhode Island’s one-bite rule, which means dog owners cannot be held responsible for dog bites that occur within an enclosed area unless the owner knew of the dog’s viciousness.

Under Rhode Island law, a victim whose dog was bitten by your dog can obtain double damages if they can prove that you had knowledge of your dog’s prior attacks. If a dog was bitten outside your dog’s enclosed area, you could be held strictly liable for any damages suffered by the dog owner and their pet.

The strict liability standard means that you can be held responsible for damages caused by your dog even if you took reasonable measures to prevent the attack.

Contact a Rhode Island Dog Bite Attorney

Schedule a case evaluation with our dog bite attorneys at Robert E. Craven & Associates to talk about your case and determine if you can be held responsible for injuries and damages caused by your pet. Get a consultation with our Rhode Island dog bite attorney to discuss your options. Call 401-453-2700.

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