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Understanding Pennsylvania Dog Bite Laws

December 05, 2017

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Injuries incurred from a dog bite can have significant lifelong emotional and physical damage. Often, the injured party will require medical attention and can even suffer severe injuries such as fractured bones and body disfigurement depending on the size and type of dog. The emotional suffering stemming from a dog bite incident can leave lasting psychological trauma on the victim. Working with a qualified and dedicated dog bite attorney will allow dog bite victims to receive full compensation for the physical and emotional injuries they sustained. Begin the process of healing with our compassionate attorneys, who care about both your legal rights and personal well-being.

Pennsylvania Dog Bite Laws

Pennsylvania law requires dog owners to control their dog by sufficiently confining and restraining the dog. State law also sets forth specific guidelines for dogs that are considered dangerous. A dangerous dog is defined as a dog that has:

  • Inflicted severe injury on a person without provocation on public or private property;
  • Attacked a person without provocation;
  • Killed or inflicted severe injury on a domestic animal without provocation while off the owner’s property; and/or
  • Been used in the commission of a crime.

The dog must also have either or both of the following:

  • A history of attacking people and/or domestic animals without provocation; and/or
  • Shown a tendency to attack people and/or domestic animals without provocation.

When is a Dog Owner Liable for Injuries Caused by a Dog Bite?

A dog owner is not strictly liable for the injuries resulting from the dog bite. Several factors determine whether the owner will be held liable and the circumstances surrounding the incident are very important. Owners will most likely be held liable if the injured party did not provoke the dog into biting. If the person did provoke the dog then the owner may not be liable. The location of the incident is also important. For example, if the injured person was trespassing on the owner’s private party when bitten, then the dog owner may not be liable.

Get the Compensation and Help You Deserve Today

Determining whether the dog owner is liable is very fact specific. The best way to establish owner liability is to consult a dog bite attorney to evaluate the facts of the incident. An experienced attorney will be able to determine whether the given circumstances surrounding the dog bite will hold the owner liable. A person who has been injured by a dog bite must file his or her claim in a specific time frame. It is important to contact a dog bite attorney at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim immediately to ensure you recover damages for your dog bite injury in a timely manner. Our resourceful Philadelphia personal injury attorneys have decades of experience dealing with dog bite claims and analyzing dog bite laws. Not only are our dedicated lawyers devoted to winning your legal claim, we will also guide you through the process with compassion and patience. We know how traumatizing a dog bite injury can be and our sole goal is to take the burden of this incident from you because you need to focus on healing.


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