Dog Bite and Attack Laws in Tulsa

Lori Fullbright: Two women are improving after a vicious dog attack in north Tulsa. Forty- three year old Beverly Wright is in fair condition and 78 year old Irene Parker is in serious condition. The pit bull was shot to death by a man who heard their screams. As News on 6 anchor Lacie Lowry found out today, that owner could be held liable, right Lacie?

Lacie Lowry: That’s right Lori. Jean Letcher with Tulsa Animal Welfare says they will be issuing the dog owner citations for having an unneutered dog within city limits and not registering the dog. The owner could also be financially responsible for the injuries her dog caused. A beware of dog sign and a fence around the yard are good layers of protection if a dog ever attacks, but not always.

Chad McLain: In 10 or 11 years we’ve probably handled 12 or 15.

Lacie Lowry: Chad McLain’s firm works a lot of dog attack cases. He’s a personal injury lawyer with Graves McLain.

Chad McLain: I think that people believe that if you’re attacked or by a dog that automatically somebody should be responsible for it and that’s not always true.

Lacie Lowry: McLain says a case like the north Tulsa dog attack involves strict liability. Beverly Wright and Irene Parker are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and knocked at this home to share their faith. The owner answered and the dog barreled past her and attacked. Under Oklahoma law the owner could be liable for damages if the victims were lawfully at the front door and if the dog attacked without being provoked.

Chad McLain: It would be generally directed at the dog specifically. Not like we talked about a knock on the door or something like that generally would not be provocation.

Lacie Lowry: McLain says keeping a dog in a fenced yard on a leash or a chain or even inside the house would generally be considered careful.

Chad McLain: Then again, as we advance from someone walking on the street into your yard and then on your porch and then inside your house those things become a little more close in proximity.

Lacie Lowry: He says at that point you have to take greater safety measures like keeping your dog secured in another part of the house when someone’s at the door. The dog owner in this case was renting the home. McLain says landlords could also be held responsible if they knew or should have known of a dog’s violent tendencies and still allowed it to stay on the property. A dog attack is generally covered under home owners insurance and some renters insurance. Lacie Lowry, New on 6.