Alabama's general election is set for Tuesday, November 6, 2012. In addition to casting votes for national and statewide offices, voters in Madison County will decide whether they want to enact a local amendment geared at dangerous dog attacks. Local Amendment One, which is a modified version of a dog bite law enacted two years ago, establishes a rigorous procedure that would allow the Madison County Commission to declare a dog "dangerous."
The law defines a "dangerous dog" as:
"[a] dog, regardless of its breed, that has bitten, attacked, or caused physical injury to a human being, without provocation, or has repeatedly bitten or caused physical injury to humans, except a dog used by law enforcement officials for legitimate law enforcement purposes, a certified guide dog for the blind, a hearing dog for the deaf, or a service dog for the disabled."
The local law would distinguish between a "dangerous" dog that has caused serious physical injury and a "dangerous" dog that has not. If a dog is ruled "dangerous" after causing serious injury to another, the law spells out procedures for euthanizing the dog. If a "dangerous" dog is not linked to a serious injury, the dog owner can regain custody under certain conditions.
Among other registration requirements, the law states that, before an owner can obtain custody of a "dangerous" dog not associated with a serious injury, that owner must present proof of insurance. Specifically, the law provides that such owner must have:
"[a] policy of insurance, such as homeowner's, or a surety bond in the amount of not less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) covering the medical or veterinary costs, or both, resulting from any future dangerous actions of the dog."
The above law would appear to be poised to make it easier for dog-bite claimants to obtain compensation for their personal injury. Too often, vicious-dog owners fail to carry homeowner's insurance coverage. The new law will make it harder for them to own such a dog without also having liability coverage.
About Drake Law Firm: The firm was founded in 1998 by Whit Drake. Focusing solely on injury and wrongful death claims, Drake Law Firm represents claimants throughout the state of Alabama. We offer a free consultation and confidential review of your claim.