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What penalties can a Virginia dog owner face for dog bites?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2021 | Personal Injury

Being bitten by a dog can result in a serious injury. Dog owners in Virginia are required to maintain control over their pets to prevent them from attacking people and other animals. If you’ve been bitten, you will want to hold the dog’s owner liable.

What are the rules for dog bites in Virginia?

Virginia is one of the states that uses the one-bite rule. This means if a person suffers dog bites, the owner is responsible for their pet’s actions and liable for any injuries the individual sustains. If the dog has bitten someone once before, the owner is liable for personal injuries suffered by the victim. This contrasts with the strict liability rule of other states, which doesn’t require a prior biting incident.

What are the penalties for dog bites?

Dog bites in Virginia carry serious penalties. In addition to the owner having to pay compensation to the victim in a personal injury case, there are things that can happen with the dog as well. If the dog has bitten another animal and caused serious injuries or even death, the owner can be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor and face up to six months in jail or a maximum fine of $1,000 or both.

However, if the dog has bitten and injured a person, the owner can face a class 1 misdemeanor charge. If convicted, the owner could receive a jail term of up to 12 months or a $2,500 fine, or both.

A class 6 felony is the most serious penalty a dog owner can face for serious Virginia dog bites. If the owner exhibits blatant disregard and recklessness and their dog causes grave bodily injuries to a person or kills them, they could face up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Dog bites can cause serious damage and change your life. Protect your rights and fight back.