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What Kind Of Behavior Is Considered Provoking A Dog?


Dog bites are a serious issue and can cause physical and emotional distress to the injured party. However, not all dog bites happen just because a dog is inherently aggressive. In some cases, the injured party may have provoked the dog leading to the bite.

Our Seattle dog bite lawyers at Emerald Law Group can explain what kind of behavior can be considered provoking a dog and how you can prove that you did not provoke the dog.

Proof of Provocation in Dog Bite Cases

Washington State imposes strict liability on the owners of dogs that bite people (RCW 16.08.040). However, if dog owners can demonstrate proof that the injured party provoked the dog, they can avoid liability in a dog bite case. This means that if you provoked the dog before you were bitten, then the dog owner may not be held responsible for your injuries. However, it is important to remember that the burden of proof lies with the dog owner, and they must demonstrate that you provoked the dog intentionally and knowingly.

Behaviors That Can Be Considered Provoking a Dog

If the owner of the dog that bit you says you provoked their dog, you might be wondering what behaviors can be considered provoking a dog. Common examples of provocation include:

  • Teasing the dog. Teasing a dog can involve various actions such as pulling the tail, ears, or fur. This can lead to the dog feeling threatened and reacting aggressively.
  • Approaching a dog in a threatening manner. Approaching a dog with an aggressive posture, such as making direct eye contact or moving quickly, can make the dog feel threatened and can trigger an attack.
  • Disturbing a dog while they are eating. A dog may consider their food bowl a personal space and may react aggressively if someone tries to take away their food or disturb them while eating.
  • Hitting or kicking the dog. Physically harming a dog can make them feel threatened and react aggressively.
  • Cornering the dog. Dogs can feel cornered and trapped if they are unable to escape a situation. This increases the risk of an attack.
  • Attacking or threatening the dog owner. Dogs may feel the need to protect their owner when someone attacks or threatens them.

There are many other kinds of behaviors that can be considered provoking a dog. However, you may still be entitled to compensation even if the dog owner says you were to blame for the bite. Speak with a lawyer to learn more about your options.

How Can You Prove That You Didn’t Provoke the Dog?

If you were bitten by a dog and you did not provoke it, there are ways to prove your case:

  • Stay calm and don’t panic
  • Seek medical attention immediately and document your injuries
  • Speak to any witnesses who were present during the incident and try to get their contact details
  • Call the authorities and report the incident
  • Contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in dog-bite cases

A personal injury attorney can help assess your case and represent you in court if necessary. They can present the necessary proof to challenge the dog owner’s arguments that you provoked the dog.

Discuss Your Best Course of Action with a Lawyer

Understanding what kind of behavior can be considered provoking a dog, and how to prove your innocence can make a difference in your dog bite case. Each case is unique, which is why you might want to discuss your situation with a lawyer. Our lawyers at Emerald Law Group can explain how you should move forward with your case. Call 206-826-5160 today to get a case review.


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