Connecticut Dog Bite Law

What you need to know about Connecticut Dog Bite law.

Dog bites can cause serious permanent injury or death. Even a “small” bite can lead to serious infection that results in surgery or hospitalization. Many of my dog bite cases begin with an owner saying “(insert dog’s name) would never bite anyone.

I have been bitten by a dog several times. Once I was ripped off my bike by a dog, I understand. It happens so fast. Fortunately, I was okay. Just a pair of ripped jeans. Other folks aren’t so lucky.

Anyone who owns or keeps a dog is held strictly liable under our law for any damage caused by the dog. Strict liability does not depend on intent or harm. A person is liable if something happens – in this case a dog bite – whether or not they did anything wrong.

Connecticut Dog Bite Law
Contact Connecticut Dog Bite Attorney Ryan McKeen 860 471 8333

Connecticut Dog Bite Law

“If any dog does any damage to either the body or property of any person, the owner or keeper,  shall be liable for such damage, except when such damage has been occasioned to the body or property of a person who, at the time such damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort, or was teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog.” Connecticut General Statutes § 22-357

Who Is A Keeper Of The Dog

A “keeper” of a dog means someone other than the owner who harbors or has possession of any dog. You can read more about Who is a dog’s keeper here.

Exceptions To Strict Liability Dog Bites

There are two exceptions “strict liability.” The first is that the person bitten by the dog was committing a “trespass or other tort.” A “tort” is a wrongful act.

“Committing a trespass or other tort” means more than merely entering on the property or in the area where the dog was, but rather entering to commit an injury or a wrongful act. This means such wrongful acts committed against the person or property of the owner or keeper or his family. For example if a dog bites a home invader there is no liability.

The second is “teasing, tormenting, or abusing” the dog. Teasing, tormenting or abusing a dog means engaging in actions that would naturally annoy or irritate a dog and provoke it to retaliation. You can read more about the tormenting defense here. 


The plaintiff must prove are 1) that the defendants were the owners or keepers of a dog, 2) that the dog did, in the language of the statute, “any damage to . . . the body or property” of the plaintiff, and 3) that neither of the exceptions applies.

Know your right about Connecticut dog bite law. Empower yourself with more information about Connecticut dog bite law. Get a free consultation with me.

How much is my case worth?

Contact experienced CT dog bite attorney Ryan McKeen at (860) 471-8333 for a free case evaluation.

You can read about one of Ryan’s recent dog bite verdicts here.

Take action. Take the Next Step. Contact me:

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Bitten by a dog attorney Ryan McKeen’s video on what you need to know about Connecticut dog bite law.

Ryan McKeen is a trial attorney at Connecticut Trial Firm, LLC in Glastonbury, Connecticut. In 2016, he was honored by the CT Personal Injury Hall of Fame for securing one of the highest settlements in the state. He is a New Leader in the Law. ABA 100. Avvo 10. 40 under 40 for Hartford Business Journal. He has been quoted in Time Magazine, the New York Times, Hartford Courant, Wall Street Journal Law Blog and the Hartford Business Journal. He focuses his practice on Connecticut Personal Injury law. He loves what he does. Contact him or 860 471 8333

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