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Can landlords be held responsible when their tenant’s dog attacks?

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2022 | Animal Bites, Personal Injury Law

Alabama law states that owners are responsible for their dogs and that owners are legally required to provide confinement and training as necessary to ensure the safety of the public.

However, in certain circumstances, the courts have determined that landlords are responsible when a tenant’s dog injures someone. In these cases, the landlord assumes legal liability.

What circumstances create legal liability for a landlord?

If a landlord has allowed a tenant to keep a vicious or dangerous animal on a rental property and knows that those animals present a threat to others, then the landlord may assume liability if and when those animals attack someone.

Are there cases where landlords assumed liability for dog attacks?

In Gentle v Pine Valley Apartments, the court ruled that the landlord was responsible when they allowed that tenant to tie a vicious dog to a railing in the apartment’s common area, and the dog went on to attack a child who was walking by. In this case, the law treats the animal as a physical hazard in the building, and the law states that the landlord is responsible for injury caused by known physical hazards.

In Berg v Nguyen, tenants kept several dangerous dogs on their rental property. When the dogs escaped and attacked someone in a nearby parking lot, the court ruled that the landlord was responsible. The landlord was legally liable because he allowed the tenants to keep the dog on the property, and because he knew they posed a threat to others.

Alabama law involves complicated matters regarding landlord and tenant responsibility for dangerous pets. Both owners and landlords should take special care when tenants keep vicious dogs.

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