Connecticut Dog Bite Law


Meet my two year old dog, Brady. Along with all of the love and joy she brings into my life, she also brings a whole lot of liability and responsibility.

As her owner am strictly liable for her actions. If she were to bite someone, I am responsible regardless of whether or not I did anything wrong. 

The only statutory defense in Connecticut to a dog bite case is that the plaintiff’s damages were inflicted while the victim was committing a trespass or other tort or was teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog. For example, I would not be liable if Brady bit a burglar or someone who was abusing her.

Connecticut courts commonly recite that “justice and social policy require that the owner or the keeper of the dog bear the loss rather than the injured third party.”     

Accordingly, a Connecticut Superior Court recently granted a plaintiff’s motion to strike a defendant’s special defense of contributory negligence which alleged among other things that the plaintiff was negligent in keeping the dog on short leash. Rodriguez v. Vargas, 2007 WL 3261585 (Conn. Super. 2007) (Upson, J.).

Although,  Brady’s two degrees (we like to say she has her master’s degree) from the Connecticut Humane Society won’t help me in a court of law, I’d like to think that they’ll help me avoid court all together. A loving and well trained dog is a wonderful thing.

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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