Wisconsin Act Changes Dog Bite Liability

2015 Wisconsin Act 112 , which was recently passed into law, changes an owner’s liability for dog bites in Wisconsin. Prior to passage, dog owners were generally liable when their dog injured a person, domestic animal, or damaged property.  In addition, if the owner knew the dog previously caused injuries, the owner could be made to pay double damages.  After the passage of Act 112, dog owners are now only liable for double damages when their dog bites “with sufficient force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement, and the owner or keeper knew that the dog had previously, without provocation, bitten a person with sufficient force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement.”  The law went into effect on November 13, 2015.

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