For over 100 years, there has been a body of law that deals with people who keep animals. Part of that law deals with people who elect to keep wild animals. Other parts of the law deal with animals that have been domesticated.
People who elect to keep wild animals do so at their own risk. No matter how safe the owner attempts to make an enclosure or how strong a cage is, if a wild animal escapes and harms someone the person who kept the animal is absolutely responsible for the harm caused by the wild animal.
The law is different for animals that have been domesticated,such as dogs. Traditionally, the law has been that "every dog gets one free bite". What that means,for example, is that if a person has a beagle dog that has been a good pet and gentle for years and out of the blue the dog attacks someone, the owner is not responsible for that first attack. On the other hand, if that dog had shown dangerous tendencies in the past and was known to be dangerous, then the owner is responsible and is always responsible for injury caused by the animal after the owner knows the dog has bitten someone in the past. Many trials center on the owner’s knowledge, or lack thereof, of their dogs previous history. If it is shown that the owner knew the dog had bitten someone in the past and chooses to keep the animal after that, they are responsible for the injuries caused by the animal.
If you or a loved one have questions about dog bite law, call an experienced dog bite lawyer at the Accident and Injury Law firm of McCutcheon and Hamner 256.333.5000.