What are the Dog Bite Laws in Colorado?

Dog Bite Statistics

Every year millions of Americans will experience a dog bite. Whether they are bit by a dog, or a friend or family member is. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) asserts that more than 800,000 of those receive medical care. Half of the 800,000 people receiving medical care are children.

Dangers of Dog Bites

An animal bite of any kind can be serious because there is the risk of infection. Bacteria live in a dog's mouth and can lead to an infection if the bite breaks the skin. 

If the bite is serious it can lead to nerve or muscle damage, broken bones, scarring, and in some cases, death.

Dog Breeds

There are some cities in Colorado that have banned pit bull breeds. These cities include Aurora, Castle Rock, Commerce City, Denver, Fort Lupton, Lone Tree, Louisville, and the Town of Simla. 

Dog Bite Laws in Colorado

A dog that has attacked a person or animal, and has caused bodily injury or death is known as a dangerous dog. 

Dog bite laws by state can vary. States like Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Colorado require criminal proceedings to determine if a dog is dangerous or not. Colorado, Oregon, and Pennsylvania view harboring, maintaining, or owning a dangerous dog as a crime. 

The Colorado dog bite law has a few categories that determines if a dog is dangerous. The first being if a dog engages in or is trained for fighting.

Just like many other states, if the dog causes injury or death to another animal or person, it is deemed dangerous. It is also true in the case that they demonstrate tendencies or personality traits for this behavior.

If your dog bites someone and does cause injury, that person can file a lawsuit. This could end with you having to euthanize your dog. 

One Bite Rule

In Colorado, there is a rule known as the one bite rule. This means an owner can assume their dog is not dangerous until it proves otherwise. However, there has been a revision to Colorado's dog bite statute and no longer applies to all cases.

If a dog bite causes serious harm, the owner could be held liable whether or not they knew the dog was dangerous. 

Dangerous Dog Behaviors

Dog owners need to be aware of the various behaviors that are labeled as dangerous. These behaviors include growling or lunging at people or animals that come near. 

If your dog likes to jump on guests who visit your home, even if they are doing it playfully it could cause injury. 

If your dog chases or barks at individuals walking, running, or riding a bike, this can be seen as dangerous as well. 

In the case that an owner trains a dog to fight, it is assumed that the owner knows the dog is dangerous. 

Dangerous Dog Ownership

In Colorado it is illegal for a person to own or harbor a dog that has been deemed dangerous.

There are conditions to owning a dangerous dog. The owner must confine the dog in an enclosure. The dog must have a microchip, and any changes in the dog's situation must be reported.

When outside, the dog must have a muzzle and be on a leash at all times. 

Written documentation must be provided to service/treatment providers and prospective owners that the dog has been subject of a violation or conviction. 

Civil Action Against Dog Owners

If you are bit by a dog while lawfully being on a property, you are entitled to bring about a civil action. This allows you to recover economic damages from the owner of the dog. 

Dangerous Dog Penalties

Owning a dangerous dog can result in a class 1 misdemeanor all the way to a class 5 felony.

Restitution may also be ordered for dead or injured domestic animals. As well as for the property damage caused by the dog.

Dog Bite Claims

To be successful in a dog bite claim, you have to prove owner negligence. Doehling Law is here to help assist you with your dog bite claim. We have the experience it takes to help you with your case.

Schedule a free initial consultation and we will help answer your questions, and gather information for your case. 

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