Dog ownership is an American staple and Utah is no exception. With as many as 40% of Utah households including a dog, it’s essential that both dog owners and their neighbors understand Utah dog laws. While specific pet laws are often localized to cities and counties; the Utah State Legislature has a number of statewide dog laws for Utah. The following laws are found under Title 18 of the Utah Code.

18-1-1. Liability of owners

(1) “Every person owning or keeping a dog is liable in damages for injury committed by the dog, and it is not necessary in the action brought therefor to allege or prove that the dog was of a vicious or mischievous disposition or that the owner or keeper of the dog knew that it was vicious or mischievous.”

(2) “Notwithstanding Subsection (1), neither the state nor any county, city, or town in the state nor any peace officer employed by any of them shall be liable in damages for injury committed by a dog, if:

(a) the dog has been trained to assist in law enforcement; and

(b) the injury occurs while the dog is reasonably and carefully being used in the apprehension, arrest, or location of a suspected offender or in maintaining or controlling the public order.”

Utah dog laws start first and foremost with the owner. If an owner’s dog causes damages or injury to another person or property, the owner will be held liable. More details on owners’ liability can be found in individual county and city laws.

18-1-2.  Dogs acting together

“Where any injury has been committed by two or more dogs acting together and such dogs are owned or kept by different persons, all such persons may be joined as defendants in the same action to recover damages therefor, and the amount found by the court or jury as damages for such injury shall be apportioned among the several defendants found liable and judgment shall be entered severally against them for the amount so apportioned.”

18-1-3.  Dogs attacking domestic animals, service animals, hoofed protected wildlife, or domestic fowls.

“Any person may injure or kill a dog while:

(1) the dog is attacking, chasing, or worrying:

(a) a domestic animal having a commercial value;

(b) a service animal, as defined in Section 62A-5b-102; or

(c) any species of hoofed protected wildlife;”

(2) “the dog is attacking domestic fowls; or

(3) the dog is being pursued for committing an act described in Subsection (1) or (2).”

Utah dog laws exist in large part to protect other animals. It’s essential that dog owners in Utah pay attention to the above law (18-1-3) in order to keep their dogs safe, as the law exposes unruly dogs to being legally killed in circumstances where other animals are put at risk.

The following law is extensive and deals with the use of arbitration in personal injury from dog attacks. For a complete listing of the law visit the Utah Code Title 18 Chapter 1 Section 4.

18-1-4.  Use of arbitration in personal injury from dog attack cases.

(1) “A person injured as a result of a dog attack may elect to submit all third party bodily injury claims to arbitration by filing a notice of the submission of the claim to binding arbitration in a district court.”

(2) “If a party submits a bodily injury claim to arbitration, the party submitting the claim or the party’s representative is limited to an arbitration award that may not exceed $50,000 in addition to any medical premise benefits and any claim for property damage.”

The key to a successful personal injury dog attack claim is an experienced attorney who will navigate the legal complexities of Utah dog laws. There is no need to fight the insurance companies on your own. If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury due to a dog attack contact the experienced dog attack attorneys of Craig Swapp & Associates. Give us a call at 800-404-9000 or fill out the online form at the bottom of this page.

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp