According to Wisconsin Statutes section 174.02, people injured by dogs are allowed to hold the owner liable for damages. Victims of dog bites or other dog-related injuries have three years after the date the injury occurred to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, a claim should be pursued as soon as possible after the injury occurs.
What Does “Strict Liability” Mean?
Based on the “strict liability rule,” a dog owner may be held responsible for injuries the dog causes, whether or not the owner knew that his or her dog was dangerous or would act in a way that has a potential to cause injury. While other states also adhere to the strict liability rule, allowing owners to be held liable despite knowing of their dog’s dangerous tendencies, Wisconsin allows owners to be held liable for double the amount of damages if the owner was notified or knew that the dog previously injured or caused injury to another person, animal or property.
What about Criminal Penalties?
In Wisconsin, the criminal courts have found dog owners guilty of murder, reckless endangerment, and other similar criminal offenses after their dogs caused injury or death. Furthermore, many cities in the state have local ordinances which impose civil or criminal penalties on dog owners of specific “prohibited” breeds, such as Pit bull terriers and Rottweilers.