New Haven, Conn. (WTNH) – As the weather gets warmer, more people are out and about, and oftentimes they bring along their furry friends, which can be great. That comes with some risks as well. Attorney Alex Mario from the Carter Mario Law firm, joined CT Style Host Natasha Lubczenko to discuss local leash laws and how to keep others and your pets safe.
Attorney Mario says that, “A local leash law is basically just each town in Connecticut has different rules about whether your dog has to be on a leash, how long, how many feet that leash should be, and whether your dog can be off-leash, off of private property.”
You might ask, “Where can people find out more about what each town requires?”
Attorney Mario advises, “They can go on the website for their town. They can call their local clerk to find out if their town is one of the ones that requires a leash, or what the fine would be if they didn’t have a leash on their dog and how many feet that should be.”
Our viewers should be aware of something called the ‘one bite’ rule, according to Attorney Mario. States are either a ‘one bite’ state or a ‘strict liability’ state. Explaining the law, she says,
“In Connecticut, we go by ‘strict liability.’ Some states go by ‘one bite,’ which is kind of like a first strike. So, if your dog has never bit anybody before and they bite somebody, some states will allow them to have that one bite, you know, kind of free and clear.”
“But Connecticut doesn’t do that. We have ‘strict liability.’ So, that means, if your dog bites somebody, even if it’s the first time they’ve ever bitten anybody, you’re ‘strictly liable’ for it.” “But it’s not just biting…It’s also if, you know, the mailman came and dropped off mail at your front door and your dog comes out of the house and starts to chase him. And the mailman’s running away, but he falls, and he hurts himself.” “Even though your dog didn’t attack him or bite him, the dog is responsible for him hurting himself. So, you’re therefore responsible, under ‘strict liability.’”
Attorney Mario says that people can be responsible pet owners by making sure that their dog is always under their control: They’re either on a leash, they’re restrained, they’re in the house, or they’re holding the animal. The pet owner should be doing whatever they can do to prevent any kind of damage to somebody else.
She adds, “I’ll ask you this question because I think a lot of times, people are surprised.” “What do you think bites the most?” “Most people would say an aggressive-looking dog like a pit bull. But it’s actually a Chihuahua, which is so tiny.”
“They might not like the way somebody smells or looks or, you know, is acting. And so you just want to make sure that even though they are animals and even though you love them like they’re family, you just want to make sure that you’re not only protecting your dog, but you’re also protecting others from something that’s unnecessary.”
“And, there are circumstances where it wouldn’t be the dog’s fault,” Attorney Mario says, “If somebody is tormenting a dog or instigating it, poking it, doing something that’s making the dog react, then the person and the dog might not be liable, but the person doing it, is, right.”
Viewers may wonder if someone does get bit, or if someone’s dog bites someone else, would it be beneficial to get a lawyer involved? “Absolutely,” says Attorney Mario. “You know, with personal injury lawyers, it’s free unless we win your case. So, there’s no risk. There’s no reason that you shouldn’t. If you’re injured, you should absolutely go get medical help first and then go get legal help.”
To learn more, visit the Carter Mario Law Firm website at www.cartermario.com.