Posted on:Jun 21, 2020

What Are Your Responsibilities as a Dog Owner in Maricopa County?

HomeBlogWhat Are Your Responsibilities as a Dog Owner in Maricopa County?

When you take on the great responsibility of owning a dog, you commit to providing it with proper care. You may, at some point, consider how these responsibilities may tie into laws in Maricopa County, Arizona. There are many reasons licensing your dog is critical. However, you might find that there are new expectations and liability that might come with dog ownership. As a dog owner, you must uphold your duty of care. Additionally, you might want to be aware that if you are facing legal action following a dog bite, it’s in your best interest to reach out to a lawyer at your earliest convenience.

Licensing Your Dog with Maricopa County

Any dog that is over three months of age must be licensed in Maricopa County. The process for licensing a dog is relatively straightforward; this can be done online through Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. Licenses will need to be renewed each year. Be aware that you will also be required to provide a certificate or proof that the dog has been vaccinated for rabies. There are several critical reasons for dog owners to license their dogs, including:

  • It helps to prevent the spread of rabies
  • Licensing your dog in Maricopa County is the law
  • It helps to reunify lost dogs with their owners faster
  • If your dog is found by animal control, it will be returned directly to you
  • It helps to fund the local animal shelter
  • Should your dog bite someone, they may be able to quarantine at home rather than elsewhere

One of the most important things that you can do when bringing a new dog into your home is to ensure that they are licensed and are up to date on all required vaccinations. This protects not only you but also your animal in the event they are lost by allowing for the best opportunity at a safe return.

Dog Bites and a Dog Owner’s Duty of Care

As a dog owner, it’s essential to be aware that a dog bite is one of the most prevalent forms of personal injury claims. When a dog owner fails to uphold their duty of care, negligence is a likely factor. Should a dog bite occur that resulted in damages, dog owners may be looking at the possibility of a personal injury claim to compensate victims for their losses. Once a dog bite occurs, victims have two years from the injury to take action; this is known as the statute of limitations. Working with a lawyer will play a critical role in strategizing a defense in such cases. Two common defenses are:

  1. The dog was provoked
  2. The person injured was trespassing on private property

A dog bite that has resulted in a dog’s aggression can come unexpectedly for some dog owners. If you were unaware that your dog was aggressive and bit another person, the one-bite rule might apply, meaning that an owner may not be held liable if they were unaware that the dog was aggressive. However, it’s crucial to note that despite this, the owner may still be held responsible for damages. 

Dog owners are responsible for ensuring that their dog receives proper care and that owners follow Arizona statutes regarding dog ownership. While dogs will be dependent on you and require your love and support, it’s also essential to uphold your duty of care as a dog owner to protect the general public. To learn more about what are your responsibilities as a dog owner in Maricopa County, contact a lawyer in Maricopa County, AZ from the Saavedra Law Firm, PLC

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