Dog Laws In Pennsylvania

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In Pennsylvania, proving that a dog owner’s negligence resulted in injury to a person can be achieved in a number of ways. A dog owner will be liable for injuries if he or she knew that the dog had “unmistakable vicious tendencies” and failed to adequately control the dog. Pennsylvania law holds that a dog can display vicious behavior without actually biting a person. Additionally, Pennsylvania law states that a previous bite by a
dog does not automatically render that dog vicious.

In Pennsylvania, dog owners will generally be found negligent if they violate the law which requires that dogs be restrained at all times.

Pennsylvania may allow a claim against a landlord if:

● The landlord knew that there was a dangerous dog on the property and failed to take steps to remove it.

● The landlord specifically cared for the dog or had control over the dog when the bite occurred.

● The landlord allowed a dog that had been deemed “dangerous” onto the property.

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 Pennsylvania, 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.


3 Ps. Stat. § 459-502

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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.