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Alabama

Code of Alabama. Title 3. Animals. Chapter 6. Liability of Owners of Dogs Biting or Injuring Persons. Liability of owner of dog for injuries to person bitten or injured while upon property owned or controlled by owner, etc.; Mitigation of damages.; Construction of chapter. Title 3. Animals. Chapter 1. General Provisions. Liability of owner, etc., for injuries caused by rabid dog. Title 3. Animals. Chapter 7A. Rabies.

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: AL ST 3-1-1 - 6; AL ST 3-6-1 to 4; AL ST 3-7A-9

Citation: Ala. Code 1975 3-6-1 - 6; Ala. Code 1975 3-1-1 to 4; Ala. Code 1975 3-7A-9


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 10/2013

Summary:  

These Alabama statutes outline the state's dog bite law.  The law first provides that, when any person owns or keeps a vicious or dangerous animal of any kind and, as a result of his or her careless management or allowing the dog to go at liberty, and another person, without fault is injured, such owner shall be liable in damages for such injury.  If any dog shall, without provocation, bite or injure any person who is at the time at a place where he or she has a legal right to be, the owner of such dog shall be liable in damages to the person so bitten or injured.  This apparent strict liability has a mitigation provision that states that the owner of such dog shall be entitled to plead and prove in mitigation of damages that he had no knowledge of any circumstances indicating such dog to be or to have been vicious or dangerous.  If an owner, however, is aware that his or her dog is rabid at the time of the bite, he or she shall be liable for twice the damages sustained.



Statute in Full:

TITLE 3. ANIMALS. CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS.

§ 3-1-1. Keeping of dog known to kill, etc., stock prohibited; liability of owner for injuries, etc., caused by same; liability for killing of same.

§ 3-1-2. Liability of owner, etc., for injuries caused by rabid dog.

§ 3-1-3. Liability of owner, etc., permitting vicious or dangerous animal to be at liberty, etc., for injuries caused by same.

§ 3-1-4. Permitting dog or hog known to kill, etc., sheep, domestic fowl, etc., to run at large.

§ 3-1-5. Permitting dogs to run at large; applicability of provisions of section in counties and certain cities or towns.

§ 3-1-6. Liability of owner, etc., for injuries to livestock, etc., caused by dog while off premises of owner, etc.

 

TITLE 3. ANIMALS. CHAPTER 6. LIABILITY OF OWNERS OF DOGS BITING OR INJURING PERSONS.

§ 3-6-1. Liability of owner of dog for injuries to person bitten or injured while upon property owned or controlled by owner, etc.

§ 3-6-2. When person deemed lawfully on property of owner of dog.

§ 3-6-3. Mitigation of damages.

§ 3-6-4. Construction of chapter.

TITLE 3. ANIMALS. CHAPTER 7A. RABIES.

§ 3-7A-9. Quarantine of dog or cat which bites human being; destruction of animal and examination of head; certain acts of or omissions by owner unlawful; delivery of quarantine instructions to owner; report of results; canine corps and seeing eye dogs.

 

TITLE 3. ANIMALS. CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS. 

 § 3-1-1. Keeping of dog known to kill, etc., stock prohibited; liability of owner for injuries, etc., caused by same; liability for killing of same.

No person shall keep any dog which has been known to kill or worry sheep or other stock without being set upon the same. Any person knowingly keeping such dog is liable for double the value of all stock killed or injured by such dog, such damages to be recovered by the owner of such stock before any court of competent jurisdiction and no action shall be maintained against anyone for killing such dog.

CREDIT(S)

(Code 1867, § 1296; Code 1876, § 1601; Code 1886, § 1379; Code 1896, § 421; Code 1907, § 2832; Code 1923, § 6072; Code 1940, T. 3, § 1.)

 

§ 3-1-2. Liability of owner, etc., for injuries caused by rabid dog.

The owner or person in charge of any dog, who knows that such dog has been bitten by a rabid dog or has knowledge of such facts that if followed up would disclose the facts that such dog has been bitten by or exposed to a rabid dog, if such dog becomes a rabid dog and bites any person, stock, hogs or cattle shall be liable to twice the damages sustained by the person injured, including appropriate medical treatment, such damages to be recovered in any court of competent jurisdiction.

CREDIT(S)

(Acts 1915, No. 477, p. 541; Code 1923, § 6073; Code 1940, T. 3, § 2.)

 

§ 3-1-3. Liability of owner, etc., permitting vicious or dangerous animal to be at liberty, etc., for injuries caused by same.

When any person owns or keeps a vicious or dangerous animal of any kind and, as a result of his careless management of the same or his allowing the same to go at liberty, and another person, without fault on his part, is injured thereby, such owner or keeper shall be liable in damages for such injury.

CREDIT(S)

(Code 1907, § 2470; Code 1923, § 5678; Code 1940, T. 3, § 3.)

 

§ 3-1-4. Permitting dog or hog known to kill, etc., sheep, domestic fowl, etc., to run at large.

Any person, who, owning or having in his possession or under his control any dog or hog known to worry or kill sheep, domestic fowls or goats suffers such dog or hog to run at large must, on conviction, be fined not less than $5.00 nor more than $50.00.

CREDIT(S)

(Code 1876, § 4405; Code 1886, § 4171; Code 1896, § 5591; Code 1907, § 6236; Code 1923, § 3219; Code 1940, T. 3, § 4.)

 

§ 3-1-5. Permitting dogs to run at large; applicability of provisions of section in counties and certain cities or towns.

(a) Every person owning or having in charge any dog or dogs shall at all times confine such dog or dogs to the limits of his own premises or the premises on which such dog or dogs is or are regularly kept. Nothing in this section shall prevent the owner of any dog or dogs or other person or persons having such dog or dogs in his or their charge from allowing such dog or dogs to accompany such owner or other person or persons elsewhere than on the premises on which such dog or dogs is or are regularly kept. Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $2.00 nor more than $50.00.


(b) This section shall not apply to the running at large of any dog or dogs within the corporate limits of any city or town in this state that requires a license tag to be kept on dogs nor shall this section apply in any county in this state until the same has been adopted by the county commission of such county.

CREDIT(S)

(Acts 1915, No. 185, p. 259; Code 1923, § 3221; Code 1940, T. 3, § 5.)


 

§ 3-1-6. Liability of owner, etc., for injuries to livestock, etc., caused by dog while off premises of owner, etc.

If any dog, not being at the time on the premises of the owner or person having charge thereof, shall kill or injure any livestock, the owner or person having such dog in charge shall be liable for damages sustained by the killing or maiming of any livestock and for the full costs of the action.

CREDIT(S)

(Code 1907, § 2471; Code 1923, § 5679; Code 1940, T. 3, § 6.)

 

TITLE 3. ANIMALS. CHAPTER 6. LIABILITY OF OWNERS OF DOGS BITING OR INJURING PERSONS.

§ 3-6-1. Liability of owner of dog for injuries to person bitten or injured while upon property owned or controlled by owner, etc.

If any dog shall, without provocation, bite or injure any person who is at the time at a place where he or she has a legal right to be, the owner of such dog shall be liable in damages to the person so bitten or injured, but such liability shall arise only when the person so bitten or injured is upon property owned or controlled by the owner of such dog at the time such bite or injury occurs or when such person has been immediately prior to such time on such property and has been pursued therefrom by such dog.

CREDIT(S)

(Acts 1953, No. 320, p. 379, § 1.)

§ 3-6-2. When person deemed lawfully on property of owner of dog.

For the purpose of this chapter a person shall be considered to be lawfully upon the private property of the owner of such dog when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws of the United States or the postal laws and regulations of the United States, when reading meters, when delivering milk, when making repairs to any public utility or service upon said premises or when on such property upon the invitation, either expressed or implied, of the owner or lessee of such property.

CREDIT(S)

(Acts 1953, No. 320, p. 379, § 3.)

§ 3-6-3. Mitigation of damages.

The owner of such dog shall, however, be entitled to plead and prove in mitigation of damages that he had no knowledge of any circumstances indicating such dog to be or to have been vicious or dangerous or mischievous, and, if he does so, he shall be liable only to the extent of the actual expenses incurred by the person so bitten or injured as a result of the bite or injury.

CREDIT(S)

(Acts 1953, No. 320, p. 379, § 2.)

§ 3-6-4. Construction of chapter.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as diminishing any right or liability for injury by dog bites now existing under the laws of this state.

CREDIT(S)

(Acts 1953, No. 320, p. 379, § 4.)

 

TITLE 3. ANIMALS. CHAPTER 7A. RABIES.

§ 3-7A-9. Quarantine of dog, cat, or ferret which bites human being; destruction and examination of animal; violations; instructions for quarantine; report of results; exemptions.

 (a) Whenever the rabies officer or the health officer receives information that a human being has been bitten or exposed by a dog, cat, or ferret required by this chapter to be immunized against rabies, the officer or his or her authorized agent shall cause the dog, cat, or ferret to be placed in quarantine under the direct supervision of a duly licensed veterinarian for rabies observation as prescribed in Section 3-7A-1. It shall be unlawful for any person having knowledge that a human being has been bitten or exposed by a dog, cat, or ferret to fail to notify one or more of the aforementioned officers. Vaccinated dogs, cats, and ferrets may be authorized to be quarantined in the home of the owner of the animal by the appropriate health officer.

(b) When a dog, cat, or ferret has no owner as determined by the rabies officer or the health officer after reasonable investigation, or if the owner of a dog, cat, or ferret agrees in writing, or if ordered by the health officer, the animal shall be humanely destroyed immediately after the exposure and the head shall be submitted for rabies examination to the state health department laboratory.

(c) The period of quarantine for animals other than domesticated dogs, cats, and ferrets which have bitten or exposed a human being shall be determined by the Alabama Department of Public Health upon consultation with the U.S. Public Health Service. If reliable epidemiologic data is lacking for an animal species regarding duration of rabies virus secretion from the salivary glands, the animals shall be humanely destroyed and the head submitted for rabies examination to the state health department laboratory.

(d) It shall be a violation of this chapter for the owner of such an animal to refuse to comply with the lawful order of the health officer in any particular case. It is unlawful for the owner to sell, give away, transfer to another location, or otherwise dispose of any animal that is known to have bitten or exposed a human being until it is released from quarantine by the rabies officer, duly licensed veterinarian, or by the appropriate health officer.

(e) Instructions for the quarantine of the offending animal shall be delivered in person or by telephone or facsimile to the owner by the health officer or his or her authorized agent. If the instructions cannot be delivered in such a manner, they shall be mailed by regular mail, postage prepaid and addressed to the owner of the animal. The affidavit or testimony of the health officer or his or her authorized agent, who delivers or mails the instructions, shall be prima facie evidence of the receipt of such instructions by the owner of the animal. Any expenses incurred in the quarantine of the offending animal under this section and Section 3-7A-8 shall be borne by the owner.

(f) The veterinarian under whose care the offending animal has been committed for quarantine shall promptly report the results of his or her observation of the animal to the attending physician of the human being bitten or exposed and the appropriate health officer.

(g) Canine corps dogs and seeing eye dogs shall be exempt from the quarantine period if the exposure occurs in the line of duty and evidence of proper immunization against rabies is presented, but shall be examined immediately at the end of 10 days by a licensed veterinarian, who shall report the results of his or her examination to the appropriate health officer as previously authorized.

CREDIT(S)

(Acts 1990, No. 90-530, p. 816, § 9; Act 2009-636, p. 1949, § 1.)



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