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North Carolina Dog Bite Cases: One Free Bite For Dogs Before Consequences

In the State of North Carolina, dogs typically get “one free bite”.  This refers to the many statutes regarding North Carolina dog bites.  NCGS Article 1A, Section 67-4.1 defines dangerous dogs as “a dog without provocation that has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person”, or “has determined by the person or Board designated by the county or municipal authority responsible for animal control to be potentially dangerous because the dog has engaged in one or more of the behaviors listed in subdivision (2) of this subsection.”  B.  “Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dogfighting or any dog trained for a dog fight.”

2.  “Potentially dangerous dog means that a dog that the person or Board designated by the county or municipal authority responsible for animal control determines to have inflicted a bite on a person that resulted in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations or required cosmetic surgery or hospitalization or killed or inflicted severe injury upon a domestic animal when not on the owner’s real property or, approached a person when not on the owner’s property in a vicious or terrorizing manner in an apparent attitude of attack.”

3. “Owner means any person or legal entity that has a possessory property right in a dog.”

In laymen’s terms, this means that for an owner to be liable and strictly liable, the dog MUST either:

a) Have inflicted a bite upon a person (thus the one “free” bite rule),

b) Killed or inflicted severe injury upon a person when not on the owner’s real property, or

c) Approached a person when not on the owner’s property in a vicious or terrorizing manner in an apparent attitude of attack prior to the attack which you are seeking damages from.

There are also many other exceptions to N.C. Dog Bite statutes.  If you have been attacked by a dog in the State of North Carolina, it is very important that you seek legal assistance.  You may or may not have coverage.