Dog Laws In New Mexico

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While In New Mexico does not have a dog bite statute, the owner of a dog that injures a person may be liable under other types of liability, such as negligence, nuisance, or willful misconduct of various kinds.

New Mexico law defines a potentially dangerous dog as one that poses a threat to public safety as evidenced by:

  • causing injury to a person or domestic animal that is less severe than a serious injury
  • chasing or menacing a person or domestic animal in an aggressive manner without provocation
  • acting in a highly aggressive manner within a fenced yard or enclosure and appearing able to jump out of the yard or enclosure.

New Mexico defines a “dangerous dog” if it caused serious injury to a person or domestic animal. However, a dog will not be declared dangerous or potentially dangerous if it was:

  • responding to pain or injury
  • protecting itself or its offspring
  • protecting or defending a person or domestic animal from an attack

The owner of a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog must comply with registration and handling requirements within 30 days or have the dog humanely put down.

The owner of a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog is required to:

  • Keep the dog under control at all times, have a proper enclosure, have a microchip implemented, and be licensed, among other things;
  • Keep the dog exclusively on the owner’s property except for medical treatment or examination;
  • Keep the dog muzzled and restrained with a lead no longer than four feet, and keep the dog under complete control at all times when the dangerous dog is removed from the owner’s property, or keep the dog caged;
  • Post a clearly visible warning sign with a conspicuous warning symbol indicating that there is a dangerous dog on the premises is posted where the dog is kept and is visible from a public roadway or from 50 feet, whichever is less.

In New Mexico, a landlord may be held liable for injuries caused to people by a tenant’s dog if they injured person can prove by a preponderance of evidence that the landlord was legally responsible for control and maintenance of the property, the landlord knew or should have known that a tenant’s dog was vicious or potentially dangerous, and the landlord fails to remove such dog from the tenant’s premises.

People injured by a renter’s dog may also be able to recover damages from a landlord under a premises liability theory when they can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the landlord owed them a duty of care, that the landlord breached that duty, and the landlord’s breach caused the person to be injured.


In New Mexico, the statute of limitations is 3 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.


Smith v. Village of Ruidoso, 128 N.M. 470 (1999)

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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.