Three kids were bitten by a dog in south Charlotte in September. The kids were playing on the road one evening when a two-year-old Labrador retriever mix that was off leash began chasing them and bit them. The owner of the dog had been doing yard work and left the yard open. Kids inside the home opened a door to the backyard to let the dog out, and it escaped through an open gate. One of the kids was taken to the Children’s Hospital. The dog was surrendered to animal control for a rabies quarantine.
In North Carolina, someone bitten by a dog has multiple different theories under which he or she can sue for damages. The first is the North Carolina dog bite statutes. A dog owner can be held strictly liable for a dog bite to a person if he willfully, knowingly, and intentionally violates the rule against dogs running at large under North Carolina General Statutes section 67-12. This rule applies only to a dog that is unaccompanied by the owner or another family member or person and that is running at large.
When this law doesn’t apply, a dog owner might be held strictly liable under section 67-4.4. The issue in that case is whether the injuries were inflicted by a dangerous dog. A dangerous dog is defined as one that is at least six months old and running at large at night, that previously hurt or killed others, or that was previously declared dangerous or potentially dangerous by officials.