Dog Laws In Iowa

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In Iowa, the owner of a dog shall be liable to an injured party for all damages done by the dog when the dog is attacks or attempts to bite a person, except when the injured person is committing an unlawful act which directly contributes to the injury. If the dog was biting, or attempting to bite, when it caused the injury, the owner will be liable for all damages without having to prove that the owner was negligent.

If a dog causes injury in a manner other than biting or attempting to bite, such as a knockdown caused by a friendly dog, the owner can still be liable provide the injured person proves that the owner was negligent.

Iowa does not hold owners liable for injuries caused by a dog, if at the time of the injury, the dog was affected with rabies unless the owner had reasonable grounds to know that the dog was afflicted and by reasonable effort might have prevented the injury.

Iowa does not have a Dangerous Dog Statute.

In Iowa, a landlord is liable to a person injured by a tenant’s dog if the injured person is invited onto the property, and the landlord knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous and failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the property was safe.

Iowa law also holds that a landlord has a duty to keep common areas reasonably safe by taking steps to prevent a dog that the landlord knows to be dangerous from harming people.

Damages that can be recovered depend upon the nature and extent of injury, medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earnings capacity, periods of total and/or partial disability, physical pain and mental suffering, disfiguring scarring, permanency of injury, and loss of consortium.


In Iowa, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of injury. This means you must file a lawsuit against the owner/keeper of the dog within that time, or you will be forever time barred from pursuing a case.


Iowa Code Ann. § 351.28

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The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed through the use of this website.  Laws relating to dog injuries can, and do, change.  To learn your legal rights, contact The Snow Law Firm, or contact a licensed and experienced attorney in your state.


In most states, when a minor is bitten or injured by a dog, the statute of limitation period does not begin to run until the minor reaches the age of 18.  Thus, for example, if an 11-year-old child is bitten or injured by a dog in a state that has a 3 year statute of limitation period within which to file a lawsuit, they will have three years from the date they turn 18 years of age, and would thus have to file a lawsuit before they turn 21 years of age.  In most instances, however, it is recommended that a parent or guardian bring a claim for a dog bite or injury claim on behalf of a minor child before waiting for the injured child to turn 18.


Some states limit the type of damages that a person bitten or injured by a dog can recover.  In most states, however, a person who is bitten or injured by a dog can recover damages that include medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earnings capacity, physical pain and mental suffering, scarring, permanency of injury, periods of total and/or partial disability and loss of spousal consortium.