When living in Arkansas, you’ll see a wide range of pedestrians out and about heading off to school, work or recreational activities. In addition to people enjoying biking along Little Rock streets or talking long strolls in the park within other city limits, you may also see the occasional dog walking beside the owner of the animal. Dogs come in a range of breeds, sizes and personalities, and some pets can be large and lovable, while others small and excitable.
However, if the person owning the dog doesn’t properly restrain it, or if such an animal has aggressive behavior, it may lash out at people or pets. Dog bites can be scary public safety hazards for both adults and children, creating serious injuries for bite victims and even death. Understanding dog bite and leash laws within Arkansas state law can help dog owners more thoroughly follow the state laws established by law enforcement, animal services and animal shelters in terms of keeping animal cruelty at bay.
These rights of property city ordinances and other local laws also help bite victims who are seeking their right compensation for their injuries. Our law firm works closely with the department of health, licensed veterinarians and animal control officers to support bite victims within their personal injury claims.
Contact us today for a free consultation via our online contact information so we can get a better understanding of your dog bite injury and initiate the necessary first steps to ensure your claim’s success.
Arkansas Dog Leash Laws
There are no statewide dog leash laws in Arkansas. In Arkansas, municipalities are provided the power to decide city ordinances on specific dog rules and regulations under statute A.C.A. § 14-54-1102. In this Arkansas law, municipal corporations are allowed to decide what to do with dogs that are threatening public health and may need impoundment, such as dogs that are astray (called running “at-large”) without a rabies vaccination, dogs that are annoyances to animal control officers and animal shelters, and dogs that have caused injuries to people or other domesticated animals.
What Happens If Dog Leash Laws Are Violated?
If any dog is found in violation of Arkansas laws, the municipality has the right to enforce the impoundment or destruction of the dog. If the municipality knows the address of the dog owner, such as a loose dog possessing a tag with the owner’s information, the municipality must send a notice of intent to the owner regarding the proposed destruction of the dog. The notice will be sent 5 days prior to the date in which the dog will be destroyed. Although this public health concern may sound like cruelty to animals, most troublesome dogs will be held by law enforcement within an adequate shelter and only eventually humanely euthanized by a licensed veterinarian when the dog owner doesn’t respond to the notices.
Many cities in Arkansas, such as Cabot and Little Rock, have adopted basic dog leash laws. The city ordinances require that dogs must be kept on a leash at all times and remain in control of the owner of the animal when outside the home. The pet owner can also use some type of physical barrier as another form tethering to control their dog.
Arkansas Dog Bite Laws
Similar to dog leash laws, Arkansas has no statewide dog bite regulations. In Arkansas, there are cruelty laws on the books in regards to vicious dog attacks in which a person knowingly or negligently allows a dog to attack another person that results in serious injury or death. The section is § 5-62-125: Unlawful Dog Attack regulation, an unlawful dog attack can be considered a Class A misdemeanor if:
- a person knows, or has a reason to know, that the dog is a danger to other people and has a natural tendency or inclination to attack or cause injuries
- if the person is negligent and allows this dog to attack someone else
- the unlawful dog attack causes a serious physical injury or serious death to the other person
In addition to the penalty of a Class A misdemeanor, the dog owner may also be required by a court of law to pay compensation or restitution to the attacked person to help pay for any medical bills.
What Happens If a Dog Bites Someone?
For unintentional dog bites where the owner had no reason to believe that their dog was a danger or would attack someone, dog bite laws focus on confinement of the animal by health authorities to observe for rabies. Local public officials will have a facility set up where the dog will be confined for observation for up to 10 days. If no facility is available, the pet owner will need to make arrangements to confine the pet. If the dog is a stray, the person bitten by the dog will have to make confinement arrangements for the animal.
It is considered an unlawful act to not inform the health authorities of dog bite incidents. It is also an unlawful activity for the owner to sell or transfer ownership of the dog after it has bitten a person and the health authorities have not been notified or given their release of the animal. You also cannot move the dog to another location or dispose of it before notifying health authorities.
Dog Attacks in Little Rock: Danger Zones & What You Need to Know
If you’re curious about the areas in Little Rock that have the most reported dog attacks, read our latest blog post on the subject here. From 2016 to 2018, Little Rock residents called Animal Control over 600 times regarding an aggressive animal.
Seeking Compensation for Dog Bites in Arkansas
If you are bitten by a dog in Arkansas, you may receive compensation by filing a personal injury claim if it can be proven that the dog owner was negligent. You will need to show a court of law that the dog owner negligently failed their responsibility in handling or controlling their dog as this negligent behavior resulted in you becoming injured.
You may also be able to file a claim under the “one bite” rule that is based off of Arkansas’ Unlawful Dog Attack regulation. The one bite rule is where the dog owner knew, or had a reason to know, that the dog has dangerous tendencies to attack, or may have previously displayed aggression where the dog bit someone else.
In some instances, you may be able hold dog owners liable for dog bite injuries under strict liability rules. Strict liability rules are used when no finding of fault can be placed on the dog owner for their dog biting someone, yet the dog owner can still be held liable for the injuries that were caused. This is common when the dog breed is one that is considered dangerous, or having a propensity to violence, such as with a pit bull.
Contact the Law Offices of Alan Levar if you were recently bitten by a dog. We can help determine what dog leash and dog bite laws apply based on the Arkansas county where the incident took place, and help determine if you have a personal injury case.