In Arizona, House Bill 2137 holds dog owners liable if their dogs attack other people’s pets or other people. The law went into effect in 2011, at the time Jan Brewer was governor. Previously, there was no such law holding dog owners responsible for their dogs attacking other dogs or pets; however, an incident in 2009 led to a couple fiercely advocating for such a law.

Background on House Bill 2137 aka “Fabian’s Law”

House Bill 2137 is commonly referred to a “Fabian’s Law” and is named after a miniature poodle that was killed by an unleashed dog just two years before the law was enacted. After the attack on their dog, the owners — a couple in Glendale, Arizona — began campaigning for the law when they found out that there was no way to hold the owners of the dog that killed their dog liable for the trauma they endured.

According to the law, if a dog attacks another pet, the owners can face Class 1 misdemeanor charges. The dog’s owner can potentially serve up to 6 months in prison and pay a fine as high as $2,500.

When is a Dog Attack a Felony Offense in Arizona?

Further penalties await owners of aggressive dogs who intentionally or knowingly cause their dog to attack a person without being threatened. Doing so is a Class 3 felony offense. It is only acceptable to incite a dog attack when a person is under the threat of physical or deadly force. Class 3 felonies in Arizona can carry a prison sentence of up to 3.5 years.

Dog owners can further be charged with a Class 5 felony if they have forehand knowledge that their dog has a propensity to attack human beings but do nothing about it. A Class 5 felony is further applicable if the dog in question has a verifiable history of attacking either other animals or people. Class 5 felonies in Arizona can carry a prison sentence of 1.5 years.

Fabian’s Law has other provisions as well. It requires that dog owners keep aggressive dogs contained within the boundaries of their yard. If an owner fails to comply with this provision, they could be subject to a Class 3 misdemeanor. Class 3 misdemeanors in Arizona can carry a prison sentence of 30 days. The law further stipulates that if an owner does not take steps to prevent an aggressive dog from attacking a person or pet outside the owner’s property, then the owner can be charged with Class 1 misdemeanor.

Can a Tucson Dog Bite Lawyer Help Me?

Dog attacks on people and pets can lead to severe injuries and devastating consequences. The owners of aggressive dogs may not only face criminal penalties, they may face civil penalties after their victims file a lawsuit against them. Tucson personal injury lawyers with Karnas Law firm resolve dog bite cases that resulted in severe injuries. If you or someone you care about has recently suffered due to the negligence or recklessness of an aggressive dog’s owner, you may be entitled to financial compensation. At Karnas Law Firm, we staunchly pursue dog bite injury cases to help victims recover damages for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • And more

Call Karnas Law Firm at (520) 571-9700 or email us to receive a free consultation about your personal injury case in Tucson.