Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the state of Missouri, but these animals can pose a danger to the public. Dogs bite thousands of humans across the country each year, and many of these cases, according to our Kansas City dog bite lawyer, occur due to a failure to control the animal.
Missouri municipalities hold the express power to prevent animals, including dogs, from running-at-large. While Missouri does not have a statewide leash law, there are rules dog owners must follow to keep the public safe.
What Leash Laws Do Missouri Municipalities Enforce?
There are multiple laws a municipality may enforce to prevent dogs from injuring other people or animals, including the following.
- Leash laws, which require dogs to wear leashes in public and be confined to their owners’ properties in some way
- Unlicensed dog restrictions, which allow dogs whose owners have paid a municipal fee to roam free in public
- Reasonable control restrictions, which require dogs to be under control of a nearby person in public, but do not require leashes
These laws vary from city to city. Kansas City Ordinance 14-33, for example, requires all dogs to wear a leash in public. Dogs may only roam on their owners’ properties, but they must have a leash, fence, or electronic collar to confine them to the property.
Missouri’s Adequate Control Law
Although Missouri does not enforce a statewide leash law, state statute 578.005, or the Adequate Control Law, does outline a few important guidelines. This statute states that an animal must be reasonably restrained or governed so that it does not cause injury to itself, another person or animal, or property.
If someone does not restrain his or her dog in public and it causes injury to another person or animal, the victim has the right to file a legal claim against the dog’s owner for recoverable damages. These may include compensation for property damage, medical expenses or vet bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Dogs in Missouri State Parks
Since state parks do not fall under municipal jurisdiction, Missouri does enforce separate leash laws in these locations. According to Missouri State Park Regulations, all pets that enter a park must wear a leash no longer than 10 feet and their owners must supervise these animals at all times. In addition, no pet other than a service animal can enter any state park or historic building, fishing waters, public swimming areas, or beaches. People who violate these regulations can face a citation and a hefty fine.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
Dog bites can be scary occurrences. If a dangerous dog injures you, it is important to get to safety and seek help immediately. Follow these steps to protect yourself and preserve vital evidence.
- Get to a safe location and dial 911.
- Take photographs of your injuries and the area around the dog attack, if it is safe to do so.
- If possible, clean the wound with mild soap and hot water and apply a sterile bandage.
- Seek medical attention immediately. Dog bites can easily lead to infections and going to a hospital can prevent these complications. Save all records from your visits.
- Attempt to identify the owner of the animal and gather his or her contact information.
- Ask any witnesses in the area for their contact information.
- Contact a Missouri dog bite attorney as soon as possible.
After a dog attack, you can suffer from several physical, emotional, and financial hardships. A Kansas City dog bite attorney can protect your rights and help you secure the compensation you need to recover.