In Ohio, an owner, keeper or harborer of a dog is strictly liable or responsible if a dog bites another person. This strict liability rule is set forth in the Ohio Revised Code. Under the statute, there are two defenses that can be raised: 1) the owner, keeper or harborer is not liable if the person who was bitten was trespassing when the dog bite occurred; or 2) the person who was bitten was teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog at the time of the attack.
An owner of the dog is the person to whom the dog belongs. A keeper is a person who has custody of the dog, but is not the dog’s owner. A harborer is a person or entity that has control of the premises where the dog resides, and allows the dog to stay on the premises.
In addition to filing suit under the statute, a victim can also sue alleging that the owner, keeper or harborer was negligent or careless in keeping and maintaining a dog with known vicious tendencies. Examples of negligent or carless behavior include: allowing a vicious dog to remain on the premises after it has attacked or attempted to attack a person; failing to properly restrain a vicious dog; and allowing a vicious dog to roam freely without supervision.
Victims of dog bites can suffer both physical scarring and emotional injury. If you or a family member has been the victim of a dog attack, please contact us at (216) 348-1800 or fill out our contact form to receive a free case evaluation with one our of Cleveland dog bite lawyers. Our Cleveland personal injury attorneys are experienced in handling these matters.