Although dogs are a “man’s best friend” unfortunately sometimes they can cause pretty significant injuries. And those injuries may be the result of someone’s negligence. If you have been injured by a dog bite, here are some of the issues you should know about Queensland dog bite law.
The first bite is free
In Queensland, dogs generally are not considered inherently dangerous. This means the owner is not automatically liable just because his or her dog hurt someone.
So, if you were bitten by a dog that has never hurt anyone before, it is going to be very difficult to et compensation for your injuries.
While dog owners may not be liable the first time the dog bites someone, they won’t necessarily escape liability that easily if it happens again. (Note, however, that if an animal displayed aggression towards other animals in the past, that does not necessarily indicate a tendency to be aggressive against humans.)
The key issue is to determine if the owner should have known that the dog was dangerous.
But how do you prove that the owner knew the animal was a danger? How can you possibly establish what the owner did or did not know?
First of all (and believe it or not) the owner might actually admit this. For example, right after incident, they might say something like “I knew he bites, I should have used a muzzle” – there is your proof.
What else can you do? You can contact the local council to see if they know anything about the dog’s history. Councils have the power to declare a particular dog dangerous or menacing. If the dog that bit you had already been declared dangerous or menacing, chances are the owner will be liable to you regardless of fault.
Even if a dog had not been aggressive in the past, the owner may still be liable for injuries caused by the animal, if the owner was negligent. For example, if children poke/irritate the dog in the owners presence, and there is a risk that the dog may become violent, and yet the owner fails to do anything to prevent harm, he or she may be liable if the dog bites the children.
From a dogs perspective…
If you are a dog owner, how do you know if your dog is deemed dangerous? Generally speaking, dogs are considered domestic animals, so they are not automatically deemed dangerous. Your local council has the power to declare that a particular dog is dangerous or menacing. Council must provide notice of this declaration to the owner. If the declaration is made, the owner must comply with relevant legislation or they will be fined. (For example, you must use a muzzle/leash, keep the dog property enclosed install a warning sign etc.) Note if you disagree with Councils declaration, it can be challenged.
Finally, it is worth noticing it is illegal to keep certain breeds in Queensland. These are Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, American pit bull terrier and Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario