Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

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gaz
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby gaz » 11 Sep 2016, 1:48pm

A member of my old local group used to ride with his pump in his saddlebag and a pump-shaped wooden stick attached to the frame, for "deterring dogs".

Whilst I never saw it wielded in anger this will forever remain my image of "The Cyclist's Touring Club" :mrgreen: .
It's got nothing to do with vorsprung durch technic you know ...

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Philip Benstead
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby Philip Benstead » 11 Sep 2016, 7:49pm

I have not been bothered by a dog for years but when I did I use to bark at the dog in a vigorous manner it put the fear of God in dog they use to run back in the opposite direction
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PH
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby PH » 11 Sep 2016, 8:01pm

Getting back to liability rather than defense - Someone on a local CTC ride was knocked off by a farm dog running into the road from a farmyard, bike written of and considerable injury. The dog owner had full liability and it was handled by the CTC accident line and Slater & Gordon (Or whatever they were called at the time)

iviehoff
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby iviehoff » 12 Sep 2016, 12:03pm

thirdcrank wrote:I'd have to admit that this isn't my pet subject and so I had to pause for thought. It's easy to be barking up the wrong tree but I sniffed out this from the Kennel Club.

https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/8277/law.pdf

Of course, it's targeted at owners rather than anybody with a mutt's fangs in their leg.

Dog owners are actually a population substantially significantly at risk from other people's dogs. There were some scary large dogs allowed to wander the streets around where lived when I was a child, but the only person I know who got injured by them was walking his own - large - dog at the time. Dogs also bite other dogs.

To me, there are numerous shortcomings in British animal legislation. To me the main problem is that the burden of proof tends to lie too much on the sufferer of animal behaviour when it comes to getting any compensation. They typically have to demonstrate that the animal owner was negligent in not taking reasonable steps to keep their animal under control. If an animal owner does take reasonable steps to keep their animal under control, then what happens is "an accident", which I don't think places a sufficient burden of responsibility on animal owners to protect others from their animals. In the case of vehicle/animal contact, there can be the view that the vehicle operator has to take reasonable steps to avoid damage to animals, and the animal owner is suffering economic loss due to damage to the animal. There have been cases of people defending themselves from dog attacks ending up in court accused of use of excessive force against the dog - smashing the dog's skull with a U-bar lock, which I know is what I sometimes feel like doing, would probably not go down well in court.

I acknowledge there are some difficult issues here. Suppose we did have a legal presumption that animal owners were responsible for the consequences of their animals' behaviour. Would now car drivers feel that didn't have to take care to avoid hitting sheep, because if a sheep runs out in front of them that's the owner's fault? Would then in practice sheep have to be fenced off the road? Do we want that? Thus I find it hard to say that an animal owner must always be responsible for the outcome of their animal's behaviour, at regardless of the level of care taken by the other party. But I think that the burden of legal proof where someone was injured in a human/dog interaction ought to lie more strongly in the lap of the dog-owner than it is at present. I feel like saying that 3rd party insurance ought to be compulsory, but it is already the case that a large number of road accidents are the responsibility of the illegally uninsured, and enforcement is likely to be much trickier in the case of dog ownership.

cotswolds
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby cotswolds » 12 Sep 2016, 12:08pm

Two issues here, civil liability and criminal liability.

If the dog directly caused injury, your friend should report it to the police:

https://sites.google.com/site/fidointheuk/controlling-a-dog-in-public/reporting-a-dog-attack

The dog may have done it before (it probably has a thing about chasing cyclists). If it hasn't done it before it may do it again and the owner can't then say it's the first time and was unpredictable.

As for civil liability, the owner is probably liable but it might depend on the particular circumstances. There is no 'relevant law' as such for civil law, just precedents based on previous cases. In general, someone who negligently causes an accident is liable for damages suffered by others. Assuming the accident is on a road/cycle path, etc, the Highway Code should be enough to show liability: "Rule 56 Dogs. Do not let a dog out on the road on its own. Keep it on a short lead when walking on the pavement, road or path shared with cyclists or horse riders."

If your friend was cycling somewhere he shouldn't have been, the dog owner might have a reasonably defence of 'My dog was off the lead because I didn't expect a cyclist here'.

And if your friend was leading a mountain bike ride through the corner of the park where a dog obedience class was being held, he might be liable if he injured a dog (dogs attending obedience classes are by definition not (yet) obedient and a reasonable person would try and keep clear).

So it depends on who was being negligent or doing something wrong, but in general that will be the dog owner who can't control his/her dog where cyclists might reasonable be expected.

SpannerGeek
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby SpannerGeek » 13 Sep 2016, 8:11am

That's great advice thanks, I'll pass it on to him. He's already been in touch with a lawyer willing to take on the case. He suffered four deep puncture wounds to the thigh and cuts and bruises from falling off.

rachelA
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby rachelA » 8 Jan 2017, 6:48pm

I was chased by a dog the other day. It chased me for about half a mile, running at the side snapping and snarling. Luckily it wasn't big enough to have caused me serious damage, had it attacked but it wasn't nice and made me aware this could have been a larger dog.

I was fuming. I go this way alot and although the dogs bark, they are not normally loose.

landsurfer
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby landsurfer » 8 Jan 2017, 8:38pm

Mint mouth spray from Morrison's ..... spray on dogs muzzle ...... stops them in their tracks .... long enough to make your escape ...lol

Dog owners have to keep their animal under control, on or off a lead.
There has been a high profile case where a cyclist sued for substantial damages after a dog on a lead caused him significant injuries .....
BUT .... I suspect that the 2- way duty of care card can be played ....
For example... your cycling along the canal tow path .... dog owner with dog on lead ... lead across the path .... your duty of care is to stop !!!
If you carry on ... "There could be trouble ahead" ......
"Could someone hold my reins while i get down off my high horse please " ...
My name is Legion, for we are many....

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 8 Jan 2017, 9:00pm

Hi'
landsurfer wrote:Mint mouth spray from Morrison's ..... spray on dogs muzzle ...... stops them in their tracks .... long enough to make your escape ...lol

Dog owners have to keep their animal under control, on or off a lead.
There has been a high profile case where a cyclist sued for substantial damages after a dog on a lead caused him significant injuries .....
BUT .... I suspect that the 2- way duty of care card can be played ....
For example... your cycling along the canal tow path .... dog owner with dog on lead ... lead across the path .... your duty of care is to stop !!!
If you carry on ... "There could be trouble ahead" ......


IF you spot the 3mm dia cord :? ...........think you can?

rachelA wrote-
"I was chased by a dog the other day. It chased me for about half a mile, running at the side snapping and snarling. Luckily it wasn't big enough to have caused me serious damage, had it attacked but it wasn't nice and made me aware this could have been a larger dog.
I was fuming. I go this way alot and although the dogs bark, they are not normally loose."


I was chased the same for a similar distance...........four times on different days by same dog on a road (UCR/ byway) asked the owner to keep dog on lead....they smirked.......finally four adults walking (one who also struck my bike driving car another day on wrong side of road :twisted: ) threatened me............... and blocked my path, I kept cool.................................

Its that bad nowadays, but I refuse to be threatened and bullied and hit by a car on wrong side of road.................
Priority Is Still 500K In 24......Cant Move On Till Then..............Stay Focused Guys And Keep Sharp.....

landsurfer
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby landsurfer » 8 Jan 2017, 10:10pm

NATURAL ANKLING wrote:Hi'
landsurfer wrote:Mint mouth spray from Morrison's ..... spray on dogs muzzle ...... stops them in their tracks .... long enough to make your escape ...lol

Dog owners have to keep their animal under control, on or off a lead.
There has been a high profile case where a cyclist sued for substantial damages after a dog on a lead caused him significant injuries .....
BUT .... I suspect that the 2- way duty of care card can be played ....
For example... your cycling along the canal tow path .... dog owner with dog on lead ... lead across the path .... your duty of care is to stop !!!
If you carry on ... "There could be trouble ahead" ......


IF you spot the 3mm dia cord :? ...........think you can?


Use this " Duty of Care" process .... Person + dog = lead ...... now thats what "Me learned friend" from Sue, Grabbit and Run LLP would expect ....
"Could someone hold my reins while i get down off my high horse please " ...
My name is Legion, for we are many....

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 9 Jan 2017, 12:50am

Hi,
OK, I will go one further than that-
Out on shared path.............see walker...........ok...............stay sharp ok......slow down ok.................approach walker...................ok.............spot a movement up the railway cutting...............dog runs flat out at me from behind side broadside................I brake dog stops before hitting me.....phew............walker keeps fixed smirky grin and doesn't even blink :x

Now I expect every walker has a loose dog............................... :? Well I always do, BUT my safety is at the top of list, who blinkin else cares.

It would help if dog walkers point to dog and say DOG :|
Priority Is Still 500K In 24......Cant Move On Till Then..............Stay Focused Guys And Keep Sharp.....

Flinders
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby Flinders » 9 Jan 2017, 11:45am

cotswolds wrote:
And if your friend was leading a mountain bike ride through the corner of the park where a dog obedience class was being held, he might be liable if he injured a dog (dogs attending obedience classes are by definition not (yet) obedient and a reasonable person would try and keep clear).


Surely that's hat's a bit illogical? If the dogs are not yet under control, the class ought not to be being held in a public place; it should be indoors at first and then outdoors away from the public when dogs are being trained to cope with the great outdoors.
In any case, how is anyone supposed to know what the class is about?

If bikes are allowed there, then dogs that chase - or may chase- bikes ought not to be off leads there.

Flinders
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby Flinders » 9 Jan 2017, 11:46am

SpannerGeek wrote:That's great advice thanks, I'll pass it on to him. He's already been in touch with a lawyer willing to take on the case. He suffered four deep puncture wounds to the thigh and cuts and bruises from falling off.


How did your friend get on with their case?

andrew_s
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby andrew_s » 11 Jan 2017, 8:07pm

Stevek76 wrote:Yes pepper spray/cs is illegal. There are some thick foam/gel staining sprays that exist in a bit of a legal grey area, which is about as close as you can get.

If I had a regular problem dog, I'd probably use a water bottle with diluted tabasco in it.

Jon Lucas
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Re: Liability of dog owners, what's the legal position?

Postby Jon Lucas » 12 Jan 2017, 9:35am

I think it is worth pointing out that there are two distinct problems with dogs, which may lead to two distinct legal positions.

a) Dogs that are running loose, and either attack a cyclist or act in a way that could lead to a cyclist coming to harm, e.g. by chasing after them or barking aggressively close to them.

b) Dogs that are with their owner, whether on a leash or not, and whose movements* lead to cyclist having an accident*.

* no pun intended with these :D

Many years ago I did hear of a cyclist who came off his bike on the Bristol to Bath path after an accident involving a dog and broke his arm (presumably from breaking his fall off the bike). Some weeks or months later he rode his bike along the same route for the first time, though his arm was still not fully healed, and guess what... he had another collision with a dog and came off again. From what I heard, the cyclist was found lying on the side of the path in agony, his arm having been broken a second time.


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