OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING LIABILITY FOR DAMAGE CAUSED BY A DOG.
By law, a dog's owner or keeper is liable when his or her dog hurts a person or damages property unless the person was trespassing; committing a civil tort; or teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog. This bill specifies that domesticated dogs and cats (“companion animals”) are included within the definition of “property” for which an offending dog's owner or keeper is liable for damages. When a companion animal is affected, the bill provides that damages include expenses for its veterinary care, fair market value, and burial expenses, when applicable.
The bill also permits livestock owners to recover veterinary care and burial expenses when their properly confined or enclosed animals (sheep, goats, horses, hogs, cattle, poultry, or domestic rabbits) are injured or killed by dogs. They can already recover the livestock's value. By law, the chief municipal officer or agent and affected owner estimate the amount of damages. If they cannot agree, they must appoint a disinterested third party to help with estimation.
The bill also makes technical changes.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012