Oklahoma Dog Bite Laws
The following statutes comprise Oklahoma's Dangerous Dog Laws. Oklahoma imposes strict liability for dog bites that states:
"The owner or owners of any dog shall be liable for damages to the full amount of any damages sustained when his dog, without provocation, bites or injures any person while such person is in or on a place where he has a lawful right to be."
Statute in Full:
§ 41. Animals chasing or injuring livestock
Right to kill
Liability of owner
A. It shall be lawful for any person to kill any animal of the family canidae or the family felidae found chasing livestock off the premises of the owner of such animal. The owner of any such animal that kills or injures any livestock shall be jointly and severally liable to any person so damaged, to the full amount of the injury done. The court, before whom a recovery is had for any such injury, shall declare the animal found to have occasioned the injury to be a common nuisance, and order the defendant to kill or cause to be killed, such animal within twenty-four (24) hours after the rendition of the judgment. Appeals shall be allowed in all such cases. Such appeals shall be prosecuted in such manner as prescribed by general statutes governing appeals.
B. For purposes of this section:
1. "Livestock" means any cattle, bison, hog, sheep, goat, equine, domesticated rabbits, chicken or other poultry and shall include exotic livestock; and
2. "Exotic livestock" means commercially raised exotic livestock including animals of the families bovidae, cervidae and antilocapridae or birds of the ratite group.
§ 42.1. Personal injury by dog
Liability of owner
The owner or owners of any dog shall be liable for damages to the full amount of any damages sustained when his dog, without provocation, bites or injures any person while such person is in or on a place where he has a lawful right to be.
§ 42.2. Lawful presence on owner's property
For the purpose of this act [FN1] a person shall be considered to be lawfully upon the private property of the owner of a dog when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state, or by the laws of the United States, or the postal regulations of the United States, or when reading meters, or making repairs to any public utility or service located on said premises, or when working on said property at the request of the owner or any tenant having a lease upon any portion of said property, or when on such property upon the invitation, either expressed or implied, of the owner or lessee of such property. The term "public place" shall, for the purpose of this act, mean and include any and all public buildings, parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities, and any and all places of business, amusement or entertainment which are privately owned, wherein merchandise, property, services, entertainment or facilities are offered for sale, hire, lease, or use.
[FN1] Title 4, § 42.1 et seq.
§ 42.3. Exceptions to application of act--Existing rights and liabilities
Provided that this act [FN1] shall not apply to rural areas of this state or to any cities or towns that do not have city or village United States mail delivery service. Provided, nothing herein shall be construed as diminishing any right or liability for injury by dog bites now existing under the laws of this state.
[FN1] Title 4, § 42.1 et seq.
§ 43. Counties over 200,000 population
Regulation and control of dogs running at large
The board of county commissioners of any county with a population of two hundred thousand (200,000) or more according to the last Federal Decennial Census may regulate or prohibit the running at large of dogs within said county, and cause such dogs as may be running at large to be impounded and disposed of as otherwise provided for by law or sold to discharge the costs and penalties provided for the violation of such prohibition and the expense of impounding and keeping the same for such sale; and may also provide for the erection of all needful pens, pounds and buildings for the use of said county at any place within said county. It shall be the duty of the board of county commissioners of any county undertaking the regulation and taxation of dogs in said county under this act [FN1] to establish and enforce rules governing the same, and they shall enter into a definite cooperative agreement with the sheriff of said county prescribing said rules and regulations and the manner and terms of enforcement thereof, and for the financing and compensation therefor. The board of county commissioners may also regulate and provide for taxing the owners and harborers of dogs, and authorize the humane killing or disposal of dogs, found at large, contrary to any ordinance regulating the same. Any person, firm or corporation who violates any rule or regulation made by such board of county commissioners under the authority of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided by the laws of this state in any court of competent jurisdiction, provided that in the case of continuing offenses, each day on which the offense occurs shall constitute a separate offense.
§ 44. Definitions
1. "Potentially dangerous dog" means any dog that:
a. when unprovoked inflicts bites on a human either on public or private property, or
b. when unprovoked kills or severely injures a domestic animal either on public or private property;
2. "Dangerous dog" means any dog that:
a. has inflicted severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property,
b. has been previously found to be potentially dangerous, the owner having received notice of such by the animal control authority in writing and the dog thereafter aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans, or
c. has been previously found to be potentially dangerous, the owner having received notice of such by the animal control authority in writing and the dog thereafter kills or severely injures a domestic animal;
3. "Severe injury" means any physical injury that results in broken bones or lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery;
4. "Proper enclosure of a dangerous dog" means, while on the owner's property, a dangerous dog shall be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure with at least one hundred fifty (150) square feet of space for each dog kept therein which is over six (6) months of age, and which is suitable to prevent the entry of children and designed to prevent the animal from escaping. Such pen or structure shall have secure sides and a secure top, and shall also provide protection from the elements for the dog;
5. "Animal control authority" means an entity acting alone or in concert with other local governmental units for enforcement of the animal control laws of the city, county and state and the shelter and welfare of animals;
6. "Animal control officer" means any individual employed, contracted with, or appointed by the animal control authority for the purpose of aiding the enforcement of this act or any other law or ordinance relating to the licensure of animals, control of animals, or seizure and impoundment of animals, and includes any state or local law enforcement officer or other employee whose duties in whole or in part include assignments that involve the seizure and impoundment of any animal; and
7. "Owner" means any person, firm, corporation, organization, or department possessing, harboring, keeping, having an interest in, or having control or custody of an animal.
§ 45. Certificate of registration for certain dogs required
A. It is unlawful for an owner to have a dangerous dog in the state without certificate of registration issued under this section. This section shall not apply to dogs used by law enforcement officials for police work.
B. The animal control authority of the city or county in which an owner has a dangerous dog shall issue a certificate of registration to the owner of such animal if the owner presents to the animal control unit sufficient evidence of: 1. A proper enclosure to confine a dangerous dog and the posting of the premises with a clearly visible warning sign that there is a dangerous dog on the property. In addition, the owner shall conspicuously display a sign with a warning symbol that informs children of the presence of a dangerous dog; and
2. A policy of liability insurance, such as homeowner's insurance, or surety bond, issued by an insurer qualified under Title 36 of the Oklahoma Statutes in the amount of not less than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) insuring the owner for any personal injuries inflicted by the dangerous dog.
C. If an owner has the dangerous dog in an incorporated area that is serviced by both a city and county animal control authority, the owner shall obtain a certificate of registration from the city authority.
D. Cities and/or counties may charge an annual fee not to exceed Ten Dollars ($10.00), in addition to regular dog licensing fees, if any are charged, not to exceed Ten Dollars ($10.00), to register dangerous dogs. Fees shall be retained by the city or county issuing license.
§ 46. Muzzle and restraint of certain dogs required--Local regulation of dangerous dogs--Dogs not to be declared dangerous
A. It is unlawful for an owner of a dangerous dog to permit the dog to be outside the proper enclosure unless the dog is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash and under physical restraining of a responsible person over sixteen (16) years of age. The muzzle shall be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration but shall prevent it from biting any person or animal.
B. Potentially dangerous or dangerous dogs may be regulated through local, municipal and county authorities, provided the regulations are not breed specific. Nothing in this act [FN1] shall prohibit such local governments from enforcing penalties for violation of such local laws.
C. Dogs shall not be declared dangerous if the threat, injury, or damage was sustained by a person who, at the time, was committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner of the dog, or was tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog or has, in the past, been observed or reported to have tormented, abused, or assaulted the dog or was committing or attempting to commit a crime.
[FN1] Title 4, § 44 et seq.
§ 47. Confiscation of dangerous dog
Purpose of act
Any dangerous dog shall be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority if:
1. The dog is not validly registered under Section 2 of this act; [FN1]
2. The owner does not secure the liability insurance coverage or surety bond required under Section 2 of this act;
3. The dog is not maintained in the proper enclosure; and
4. The dog is outside of the dwelling of the owner, or outside the proper enclosure and not under physical restraint of the responsible person. In addition, the owner shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one (1) year or by the imposition of a fine not to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment. Any such fine, at the discretion of the court, may be offset by payments made by the dog owner to any victim of an attack by the dog. However, insurance payments may not be considered as an offset.
It is the purpose of this act [FN2] to provide additional and cumulative remedies to control dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs in this state. Nothing in this act shall be construed to abridge or alter rights of action or remedies of victims under the common law or statutory law, criminal or civil.
[FN1] Title 4, § 45.
[FN2] Title 4, § 44 et seq.
Citation: OK ST T. 4 § §§ 41 - 47
Citation: 4 Okl. St. Ann. § §§ 41 - 47
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