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Craig Kelley
Craig Kelley
Attorney • (800) 642-1242

If You Are Bitten Or Attacked By A Dog, You Have Rights

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The Iowa dog bite/attack statute imposes liability upon dog owners for damage or injury caused by their dogs, whether by biting, attack or other means, to both people and other domesticated animals.

The Iowa law has two unique features.  First, it applies when “the dog is attacking or attempting to bite a person,” meaning that a person or child who is chased into the street by a dog, and is hit or run over by a car, is entitled to make a claim under Iowa law.   Second, the statute provides an exception for any dogs that are “affected with rabies” if the owner had no way to learn of the illness and could not have prevented the injury.   The complete statue is listed below.

IOWA STATUTE Section 351.28  Liability for damages.

The owner of a dog shall be liable to an injured party for all damages done by the dog, when the dog is caught in the action of worrying, maiming, or killing a domestic animal, or the dog is attacking or attempting to bite a person, except when the party damaged is doing an unlawful act, directly contributing to the injury. This section does not apply to damage done by a dog affected with hydrophobia unless the owner of the dog had reasonable grounds to know that the dog was afflicted with hydrophobia and by reasonable effort might have prevented the injury. 

TIPS on Preventing Dog Bites:

Teach children basic safety around dogs and review regularly:

Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.

Do not run from a dog and scream.

Remain motionless (e.g., “be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.

If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g., “be still like a log”).

Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.

Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.

Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.

Do not disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.

Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.

If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.