According to the Centers for Disease Control, 885,000 people are bitten by dogs each year, and one out of every five of those require medical attention. Pennsylvania dog owners are liable for all damages after a severe animal attack or if the dog had been considered dangerous in the past. As a dog bite victim, you can recover full compensation from negligent dog owners who fail to comply with Pennsylvania dog laws.

Steps to Take if You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog

The first steps to take after a dog bite are

  1. Get the dog owner’s contact information
  2. Make sure the dog is up to date on all of their shots
  3. Try to determine if there is any possibility that the dog has rabies
  4. Seek medical treatment
  5. Report the dog bite to both the police and your local animal control agency

A dog bite can be broken down into two categories, severe and non-severe, which determine what type of compensation can be recovered by victims.

  • A severe injury is one that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery. If the bite is deemed severe, then the victim of the bite can file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner for medical expenses, legal damages, and other losses (emotional trauma, etc.).
  • With a non-severe injury the victim can still file a lawsuit against the animal’s owner but can only seek compensation for medical expenses.

Pennsylvania Dog Bite Laws

Pennsylvania follows strict liability when it comes to dog ownership. This means that dog owners in PA are liable for any and every injury that their dog inflicts on someone else. This is true regardless of whether or not you know your dog to be dangerous and whether or not the dog was appropriately restrained at the time of the attack. The only exceptions to this rule are if someone trespasses on your property and is bitten as a result, or if someone intentionally provokes the dog in such a way that causes it to become aggressive.

Responsibilities for Dangerous Dog Owners in PA

If the dog has had previous aggressive encounters with humans then it has likely been labeled as “dangerous,” based on the following criteria.

A dog is considered dangerous if it has done one or more of the following:

  • The dog has inflicted severe injuries without being provoked
  • The dog has killed or injured another domestic animal, without provocation
  • The dog attacked a person without provocation
  • The dog has been used as an accessory to a crime


If a dog has been labeled as dangerous, there are several stipulations the owner must meet to keep the dog. They must:

  • Register the dog as dangerous
  • Maintain liability insurance for at least $50,000 that insures the owner for any injuries the dog may inflict to another person or animal
  • Obtain fencing or a suitable enclosure for the dog
  • Label their property as housing a dangerous animal and display a sign that informs children that a dangerous dog lives there
  • Muzzle the dog and restrain it on a leash at all times when off the owner’s property
  • Notify the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, the State Dog Warden, and local police departments if the dog is gotten loose, is unconfined, has attacked an animal or another person, has been sold, or has died.

Why Dogs Bite

Dogs may bite for a variety of reasons. Whether they’re male or female, big or small, any dog can become agitated and aggressive, leading them to bite at any time.

A dog may bite if it:

  • Is defending their territory (such as a bed or crate), their belongings (toys, bones, etc.), or their food
  • Is stressed
  • Has been scared or startled, such as in a situation where a child is injured because they stepped on a dog’s tale
  • Feels threatened
  • Is sick or sore due to an injury or surgery
  • Is playing, but doesn’t know their own strength and bites too hard

Call the Pisanchyn Law Firm’s Dog Bite Lawyers

Our Pennsylvania Dog Bite Lawyers Can Help

We have prosecuted numerous cases of this nature and can honestly pledge to you, without any equivocation, that should we accept your case, we will make completely sure that you get the justice you deserve.

For these reasons, when you retain the attorneys at the Pisanchyn Law Firm you know that you have a first-rate PA Dog Bite Law Firm that will fiercely pursue your rights and the money you deserve. As we have pledged, you will never pay a fee until we win your case.

Call our PA dog attack lawyers toll free at 1-800-444-5309 for your free consultation. We have locations in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Scranton and will travel to you.