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Scottsdale Dog Bite Attorney

People keep dogs as pets for their intense loyalty and vigilant protection of their owners. However, sometimes a dog’s defensive instincts can go wrong and might bite another person.

If you have been injured in a dog bite attack in Scottsdale, consult with an experienced dog bite lawyer from Stone Rose Law to see if you are entitled to compensation from the dog owner.

Call us at (480) 498-8998 to learn more in a free consultation about how one of our dog bite attorneys can help you evaluate your possible dog bite case.

How Serious a Problem Are Dog Bites?

Dog bites are common injuries. Depending on factors like the size and temperament of the dog, its bite can inflict painful, costly, and sometimes even lethal wounds.

  • In the United States in 2022, about 10 million incidents of dogs biting people occurred.
  • In the same year, the average cost to settle a dog bite claim for personal injury was more than $60,000.
  • Dog bite injuries are often serious and can involve not only physical injuries but property damage, too.

Children are especially vulnerable to dog bites. About half of all children will be bitten by a dog at some point.

Most child dog bites happen between the ages of 5 and 9. Younger children tend to be bitten more often by dogs that are familiar, like a family dog or a neighbor’s dog. Adolescent kids usually receive bites from unfamiliar dogs.

Adults can also be the victims of dog bite injuries, with some occupations being more likely to be at risk for dog bites.

Postal workers, landscapers, utility workers, and electric and gas meter readers have long been acquainted with dog attacks and dog bites. The increasing prevalence of delivery services that bring goods we buy directly to our doors is becoming another increasing source of dog bites to workers.

Kinds of Dog Bite Injuries

The consequences of a dog bite can be immediate or delayed, short-term or long-term, and physical as well as emotional.

Direct and Immediate Physical Effects of a Dog Bite

Physical wounds from dog bites are usually soft tissue injuries that are not life-threatening.

Common dog bite wounds include lacerations, puncture wounds, and bruising. More serious injuries can include avulsions and extensive bleeding.

Long-Term Physical Effects of a Dog Bite Injury


Although dogs are often imagined to have “clean” mouths, a dog bite wound can still transmit infections. The most well-known dog bite infections are tetanus, septicemia, and rabies.


Tetanus is an infection that can come from puncture wounds. For those infected, tetanus has an 11 percent fatality rate.

Tetanus infections are uncommon in the United States because of widespread childhood vaccination programs in school. Also, other effective preventive measures exist for tetanus including a vaccine booster or a tetanus immune globulin injection (a “tetanus shot”).

Tetanus can lead to serious symptoms that, if left untreated, can lead to pneumonia, voice box spasms that can cut off breathing, pulmonary embolisms, seizures, severe kidney failure, and muscle spasms severe enough to cause bone fractures.


Septicemia is a bacteria that causes your body to undergo an extreme immune system response known as sepsis.

Sepsis is usually not fatal and most people will recover with medical treatment. Untreated sepsis, however, can worsen into a more serious condition known as septic shock. This is a low blood pressure condition that causes; organ damage because of low oxygen levels in your bloodstream.


Rabies is a viral infection that typically occurs after being bitten by an infected animal. It causes brain swelling and is almost always fatal if left untreated.

Rabies cases are very rare in the United States, and treatments exist that, if applied in time (before physical symptoms appear), are effective in curing the infection.


Even if a dog bite is non-life threatening,  it can still have lifelong consequences. For example, a serious dog bite wound to your face that causes scarring and permanent disfigurement is something that can impact your social interactions and even your ability to enjoy some normal life activities.

Long-Term Emotional Effects of a Dog Bite Injury

Emotional Distress

A dog attack, especially by a large dog, can be a mentally traumatic event. It can leave you with emotional scars just as long-lasting as any physical ones.

In Arizona, this kind of long-term emotional trauma is compensable as a form of dog bite harm.

Wrongful Death

Although rare, dog bites can lead to the death of a loved one.  If this is the case, the family of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. This could be used to seek monetary damages for the death of the dog bite victim.

An infographic listing out potential effects of dog bites.

Dog Bite Laws in Arizona

Arizona has two statutes that govern liability for injuries caused by dogs.

One is the state’s strict owner-liability law for dog bites. The other is the dog-at-large statute.

Strict Owner Liability Dog Bite Law

In Arizona, a dog owner is strictly liable for harm that the dog causes to anyone who is on public or private property at the time of the dog attack.

Proving a dog owner’s strict liability under Arizona’s dog bite statute means you must prove both of the following:

  1. The owner’s dog bit you.
  2. You were in a public place or lawfully present on private property.

What Does “Lawfully Present” Mean for Private Property?

Arizona’s strict liability dog bite law does not protect trespassers or burglars. Anyone who enters your private property without permission or who is committing a crime on the property is not lawfully on the property.

In some cases, people can be lawfully present on private property without obtaining the owner’s permission. These include social guests (such as customers in a store), postal delivery workers, utility workers, meter readers, and public officials. 

Exceptions to Arizona Dog Owner Strict Liability

Arizona’s strict liability law only applies to the owner of the dog. Under ARS § 11-1001(10), an owner is legally defined as a person who keeps an animal for five days. 

No one else, even another person who was supposed to be in control of the dog at the time of the biting incident, is strictly liable for the dog bite. However, they may be liable for negligence for failing to control the dog. 

Another exception to the Arizona strict dog bite liability law is that it only applies to dog bites. If the dog causes harm unrelated to biting, the injured person must use another law to seek compensation.

A third limit on the applicability of the Arizona strict liability dog bite statute is that it specifically exempts some dog bite situations. Here are a couple of examples:

  • A police dog bites someone during a law enforcement activity, such as an investigation, warrant service, or arrest.
  • A dog that bites in reaction to being provoked.
  • If a person was bitten for trespassing.

Defenses Against Dog Bite Strict Liability

As mentioned above, Arizona’s strict liability dog bite law recognizes provocation of the dog as an affirmative defense. This means the dog owner must raise this defense for the court to consider.

The dog bite statute does not define what “provocation” means. Instead, it uses a reasonable person test: “Would a reasonable person, seeing the behavior of the victim that led the dog to bite, conclude that the victim’s acts were provocatory to the dog?”

Arizona court cases have found the following acts sufficient to support the provocation defense:

  • Kicking or hitting the dog
  • Pulling on the dog’s tail or ears
  • Approaching a mother dog’s puppies

An intent to provoke the dog is not always needed to raise the provocation defense. A small child, for example, who playfully pulls on a dog’s tail could still provoke a bite response.

The Arizona Dog-at-Large Statute

This law applies to dog attacks. A dog attack describes a case where a dog is loose without a leash, or a person responsible for being in control of the dog (not just the owner) loses that control.

The Arizona dog-at-large law makes the dog owner or the person controlling the dog liable for personal injuries or property damage the dog causes while it is out of control.

Unlike the strict liability law for dog bites, this statute is not confined to dog bites. It can include situations in which a dog knocks someone over, scratches someone, attacks another person’s pet, or damages property.

Proving a Case Under the Dog-At-Large Statute

The main proof element to show a violation of the dog-at-large statute is that the dog was loose or “at large.”

Thus, a possible defense an owner might raise is that even though the dog was loose, it was loose in a place authorized for a dog to be off-leash, like a designated area in a park for off-leash animals.

Statutes of Limitations for Dog Bite Claims Based on Arizona Statutes

A legal action under the Arizona strict liability dog bite statute or the dog-at-large statute requires you to file a lawsuit within one year of the injury or other harm done.

An infographic listing different Arizona dog bite laws.

Scottsdale Laws Governing Dog-Caused Injuries

Scottsdale has its own city ordinances that apply to dog owners. Here are a few of them:

  • No dog may be at large off of the owner’s property. Dogs that are not on a leash on public streets, public parks, or public property, or which are on a leash longer than six feet, are “at large” in Scottsdale (Scottsdale Code Section 4-39).
  • Dogs more than three months old must be licensed (Scottsdale Code Section 4-35).
  • Before a license can be issued, dogs must be vaccinated (Scottsdale Code Section 4-37).
  • Dogs must be kept on leashes in city parks (Scottsdale Code Section 20-32) and at the Civic Center (Scottsdale Code Section 20-119).
  • Unlicensed dogs that bite someone must be quarantined at an authorized pound for at least seven days (Scottsdale Code Section 4-40).
  • It is unlawful to keep a dog as a “vicious animal” that interferes with refuse collection workers (Scottsdale Code Section 24-47).

Scottsdale dog ordinances make either dog owners or those who were acting for the owners liable for code violations.

Personal Injury Lawsuit Liability for Dog Bites in Arizona

If you are a victim of a dog bite, then you may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner or the person acting on the owner’s behalf based on common law negligence.

Elements of a Personal Injury Claim

You prove your dog bite injury case in the same way as for any other personal injury. Simply put, you must prove the following to demonstrate the owner’s negligence:

  1. The dog owner or person controlling the dog owed you a duty of care. In this case, that duty was to keep the dog under control so it would not bite another person.
  2. The dog owner or person controlling the dog breached that duty of care to you. This can be shown, for example, by proving that the owner allowed the dog to be at-large when the bite injury happened.
  3. The breach of the owner or controlling person’s duty to you led to the bite injury taking place.
  4. You were harmed by this breach of duty.

You must also prove that you were bitten while occupying a space legally (not trespassing). 

Personal Injury Damages for Dog Bites

If you are successful in proving a negligence-based case for a dog bite injury, you can recover monetary damages for three kinds of harm:

  • Direct or economic damages. These include medical treatment costs, lost wages if the injuries caused you to miss work, and property damage costs.
  • Indirect or non-economic damages. These are also known as pain and suffering damages and include amounts for emotional distress, disfigurement and scarring, and loss of enjoyment of quality of life.
  • Punitive damages. In some cases, like when the dog owner’s behavior is intentional in helping to cause your injuries (for example, the owner turned the dog loose specifically so it would attack you), you can collect punitive damages in addition to direct and indirect damages.

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits

Unlike dog bite claims based on Arizona statutes, you have two years after the dog bite incident to file a lawsuit for negligence-based personal injury lawsuit..

This two-year statute of limitations is suspended if the bite victim is a child under the age of 18. In most cases, however, a child dog bite victim’s parents will sue the dog owner on their child’s behalf instead of waiting for the child’s independent personal injury case to ripen.

What to Do After a Dog Bite or Dog Attack

The most important thing to do after a dog bite or an at-large dog attack is to seek appropriate medical treatment.,serious injuries.

 Some other things you can do that can help your Scottsdale dog bite lawyer to support your dog bite injury claim in settlement negotiations or in trial include:

  • Get the name and contact information (name and phone number) of the dog’s owner and any witnesses. 
  • Get the contact information for the dog owner’s insurance company.
  • Report your injury to the police or animal control.
  • Request a copy of the police report.
  • Take photographs of the dog and the location where the injury happened.
  • Take photographs of your injuries.
  • Save any clothing damaged by the dog.
  • Do not accept any settlement or admit fault to the dog owner’s insurance company.
  • Speak to a dog bite injury attorney.
An infographic listing out the steps to take after being bitten by a dg in Arizona.

Contact a Scottsdale Dog Bite Lawyer

If you or a loved one of yours has been bitten by a dog, call us at the Stone Rose Law firm for the aggressive representation you deserve. Whether you need a dog bite attorney in Scottsdale, Chandler, Maricopa County, or elsewhere in the state, our Scottsdale dog bite lawyers are here to help. 

Call Stone Rose Law at (480) 498-8998 or contact us online for more information and to schedule a free case evaluation with a qualified dog bite attorney today.

If you have been bitten by a dog, do not wait. If your medical condition worsens, the dog’s owner can argue that you are negligent for and try to reduce your recovery. 

Also, do not forget that Arizona law gives you as little as one year to file your legal claim for a dog bite injury.

Let us help you to preserve your claim and to win the maximum compensation you need. Call us today.