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Animal owners are liable for actions beyond animal bites

Dog owners can sometimes end up loving their canine friends more than their human ones. But humans are often hesitant to take responsibility for the actions of dogs, who are motivated by instinct alone. This is why leash laws and other protections are legislated by New Hampshire towns or the government in Concord.

Although dog bites and dog-related injuries are rare enough in the Granite State, state law makes animal owners or caretakers responsible for the damaging or injurious actions of any domestic animals. This also includes injury or death of other domestic animals owned by other people.

It may be logical to think a dog's or other animal's bite or scratch is the only action that could be damaging, but a case decided by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire makes an owner liable for the consequences of a dog's "vicious or mischievous acts." For example, if a dog barks menacingly at a passing bicyclist and the surprise causes the rider to crash his or her bike, the owner of the dog could be considered liable for not preventing the dog's actions.

These laws are important because many animal attacks take place in public spaces or a property other than the dog owner's home. Any danger caused to visitors of a private or commercial property may also be covered by the idea of premises liability.

People who have been injured or lost property due to a domestic animal attack have the right to sue for financial damages to assist with recovery. An attorney can help victims and their families weigh their options under New Hampshire civil law.

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