Wisconsin Laws on Dog Bites

The general rules around dog bites are that the dog’s owner will be legally responsible for any harm that their dog does. However, this general rule has a couple of restrictions.

Where did the bite take place?

Dog owners are allowed to use dogs to protect their person and property. Whether the dog was protecting the owner may be taken into account in these types of cases.

Were you allowed to be where the bite occurred?

Dogs can protect against trespassers. If you were unlawfully entering a property, that would also affect your dog bite case.

Were you doing anything to provoke the dog?

In general, if you were provoking or torturing the animal, those types of actions will be considered account in a dog bite case.

Wisconsin Laws on Dog Bites

Wisconsin law divides dog bite cases into those where the dog owner had “notice” and where they did not. “Notice” in this type of situation is based on whether the dog has bitten someone in the past.

If there is no notice, a dog owner is still liable for all of the damages that their dog caused, including to people, domestic animals, or property. If there is notice, the dog owner is liable for twice the full amount of damages if a bite broke the skin and caused permanent physical scarring or disfigurement and the owner knew about a prior similar bite.

Wisconsin also has general civil penalties for dog bites as well. These penalties range from $50 to $5,000 that the dog owner must pay to the state.

Minnesota Laws on Dog Bites

Minnesota dog bite laws are very favorable to dog bite victims. They use “strict liability” for dog bite cases. That generally means that the dog owner or person keeping the dog is automatically liable for your injuries and damages if their dog bites you.

However, Minnesota law is subject to the caveats above, including that you cannot have provoked the dog, and you must be peacefully and lawfully in a location.

What Should I Do After a Dog Bite?

It is important to get immediate medical attention after a dog bite. The risk of infection is high in these situations, so medical care is vital. You should also call the police to make a report as well.

You have legal options if you are bitten or harmed by a dog in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. The unique facts of your case will dictate how you should handle a dog bite from a legal perspective. Learn more by contacting our team to set up an appointment.


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