Massachusetts Dog Bite Law
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Massachusetts Dog Bite Law: The Massachusetts Dog Bite Statute

Massachusetts Law Protects Victims of Dog Attacks and Provides For Liability For Damages and Injuries Caused By Massachusetts Dog Attack or Other Massachusetts Dog-Related Incidents.

According to Massachusetts General Laws, the owner or keeper of a dog is strictly liable for compensating the victim of a Massachusetts dog bite or Massachusetts dog attack for any damages sustained, such as medical expenses and pain and suffering.

The Massachusetts dog bite statute is as follows:

Chapter 140: Section 155. Liability for damage caused by dog; minors; presumption and
burden of proof:

If any dog shall do any damage to either the body or property of any person, the owner or keeper, or if the owner or keeper be a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor, shall be liable for such damage, unless such damage shall have been occasioned to the body or property of a person who, at the time such damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort, or was teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog. If a minor, on whose behalf an action under this section is brought, is under seven years of age at the time the damage was done, it shall be presumed that such minor was not committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog, and the burden of proof thereof shall be upon the defendant in such action.

Unlike many other Massachusetts personal injury cases, Massachusetts dog bite victims are not required to prove that the owner’s negligence caused the attack, as it is assumed. This strict liability Massachusetts dog bite law, however, does not apply to individuals over the age of seven if, prior to the attack, the dog bite victim taunted, abused or tormented the dog, or trespassed onto private property on which the dog was located at the time of the dog attack.

If children under seven are attacked as a result of taunting, teasing or abusing a dog, their behavior is excused because of their lack of experience and knowledge. The liability of the owner or keeper of the dog under such circumstances is thus automatic. Massachusetts laws regarding dog bites and children are among the toughest in the nation. This pro-victim approach forces dog owners to be more responsible with their dogs, especially around children.

It is also not necessary for our Boston dog bite attorneys to prove that the dog previously bit another person or animal. It is also unnecessary to prove that the dog had a vicious disposition, or that the dog is of a certain breed that is likely to attack. The owner or keeper of the attacking dog may also be liable whether he or she is on public or private property at the time of the attack.

However, it is necessary to show that the defendant was the owner or keeper of the dog at the time of the Massachusetts dog bite or dog attack in order to establish liability. In addition, the injured person must prove that he or she was not teasing or provoking the dog and that he or she was not trespassing at the time of the dog attack.

If you are a victim who is also a friend of the dog owner, you need not worry about the costs they will incur because it is likely that the dog owner’s homeowner's insurance policy will cover the monetary damages resulting from the attack as part of the liability coverage.

Other Relevant Laws

Many communities nationwide have enacted breed specific legislation, which ban residents in a city or town from owning a particular breed of dog. These types of laws are justified because studies show that certain breeds are more susceptible to attacks than others. For example, in 2010, 33 fatal dog attacks occurred nationwide and 79% of those attacked were by rottweilers and pit bulls. Communities may believe it is necessary to prevent breeds such as pit bulls and rottweilers from becoming family pets.

Furthermore, there are laws in place for when owners should have been controlling their dogs because of a prior attack or complaint. If it can be proven that the dog was under a prior restraining order, which was issued by an Animal Control Officer, the dog bite victim may be able to recover three times the value of the damages he or she has suffered as a result of his dog bite injuries. These laws are justifiably harsher because if an owner is aware of his or her dog’s dangerous potential, he or she should be held to a higher standard of culpability if another incident occurs.

If you have been attacked by a dog that has been banned from your community or that is under a restraining order, please call our Boston dog bite attorneys at (617) 787-3700.

Additionally, Massachusetts has implemented a number of dog ordinances to help decrease the risk of dog attacks. One requires every dog owner to obtain a license for his or her dog each year. Another requires all dogs to be on a leash when they are off the owner’s property. Finally, while a dog is not on the owner’s property, the owner must make sure to have absolute control over the dog.

Our Boston animal attack attorneys have extensive experience. Our Boston dog bite lawyers are skilled in dealing with personal injury cases resulting from animal attacks. Call our Boston, MA personal injury dog bite lawyers today at (617) 787-3700 or email us at to set up a free and confidential initial consultation. Our Boston dog bite attorneys will fight to get you fair and just compensation for your dog bite injuries.
Our Boston, MA Dog Bite Lawyers Are Experts With Respect to Massachusetts Dog Bite Law and Massachusetts Dog Bite Claims. Please Call Our Boston, MA Dog Attack Attorney Specialists 24/7 at 617-787-3700.









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