Arkansas dog bite law states that an owner or a person having custody of a dog has a duty to use ordinary care to keep his/her animals from running at large when he/she knows or reasonably should know that such animals are likely to cause injury or damage to others. Arkansas Model Jury Instruction 1601. Further, a person who keeps a domestic animal with knowledge of its dangerous tendencies does so at his/her risk and is liable for injuries and damage caused by the animal. Arkansas Model Jury Instruction 1602.
Against this backdrop, and pursuant to the plain language of these accepted Arkansas jury instructions, an owner and/or a person in custody of a dog may be held liable for injuries caused by an animal. This liability can be twofold. First, an owner or custodian may be held liable under a theory of strict liability for injuries inflicted on a plaintiff if (1) the animal was of a vicious species; or (2) the animal, although domesticated, had dangerous tendencies which were known to the owner. However, an owner or custodian need not have actual knowledge of an animal’s dangerous tendencies or propensities. Notice may be actual or constructive.
In addition to a theory of strict liability, Arkansas law allows a cause of action for ordinary negligence in dog attacks. Most often, this negligence claim will lie when dogs are maintained in violation of a local leash or confinement law. However, negligence can be found in many different ways. In order to prove a prima facie case of negligence, the injured person need only show that under the circumstances the dog owner failed to exercise ordinary care to control or restrain.
Arkansas has a statute of limitations for dog bites. Cases involving dog bites must be filed within a three-year time from the date the injury occurred. If you have any questions, consult with an Arkansas dog bite lawyer. The Pfeifer Law Firm handles many dog bite cases and has an experienced dog bite attorney who can answer your questions. Call us today for a free, no-pressure consultation at 501-374-4440. We are here to help.