In 2011, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed House Bill 2137, which holds dog owners legally responsible when their dogs attack another person’s pets. The new law classifies a dog attack on another dog as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a potential six-month jail sentence and up to $2,500 in fines. The bill passed after a Glendale couple began lobbying state lawmakers in 2009 to hold owners of vicious dogs accountable for attacks.
History of the Bill
In 2009, Glendale couple Andrade and Richard witnessed a neighbor’s unleashed dog fatally maul their miniature poodle. After the attack, the couple began pushing state legislatures for a way to hold dog owners accountable for similar attacks. Named after their miniature poodle, the bill was nicknamed “Fabian’s Law.” The couple began pushing the new law when they discovered there was no current law for holding the unleashed dog owner accountable for the attack on their pet.
Responsibility of Dog Owners
House Bill 2137 imposes a Class 3 felony on any person who purposefully or knowingly causes a dog to bite another human being without being under threat of physical or deadly force. A dog owner who knows or has reason to know of his or her dog’s propensity to attack can be charged with a Class 5 felony. This penalty also applies if the dog has a history of biting people or other pets.
Necessary Control Measures
The bill also requires an owner to enclose his or her aggressive dog in the yard. Failure to do so is a Class 3 misdemeanor. If an owner fails to take necessary steps to prevent an aggressive dog from attacking another person or animal while off property, he or she can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The Hameroff Law Group has more than 25 years of experience representing personal injury victims. Our Tucson personal injury attorneys help clients pursue compensation following a dog bite injury. Call (520) 792-4700 to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney today.