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South Carolina's Dog Bite Law


Many Columbia residents will readily admit that they are dog lovers, and understandably so. Man's best friend can offer safety, security, and great companionship. But despite all of the wonderful qualities that dogs have, they are still animals and under the right circumstances they can bite or attack people and cause a lot of harm, if not death to some of their victims, many of whom are small children and the elderly.

We know that in the wild dogs are dangerous and that they are pack animals. But when dogs are properly socialized, they can be the best pets for adults and children alike.

Often, a dog becomes dangerous solely because of human influences, for example, when dogs are not properly socialized, or when they are continuously chained, abused, neglected, trained for dog fighting, or malnourished, they can become dangerous to the community as a whole.

In these situations, the dog becomes dangerous because of their upbringing and their owners. Other times, a dog can receive all of the love and affection in the world since birth, but somehow they were born with a mean spirit. Still, their owners keep them anyway, knowing that their dog tends to growl and bite people and other animals.

Often, such dog owners will downplay their dog's dangerousness when the dog's behavior strongly demonstrates otherwise. It's as if the dog is an accident just waiting to happen.

What if one of these dangerous dogs bites or attacks an innocent person? What does the law say about the dog owner's liability? Read on as we explain South Carolina's dog bite law.

South Carolina Law Holds Dog Owners Responsible

In South Carolina, dog owners are expected to take responsibility for their dogs and prevent them from biting or injuring other people.

Under § 47-3-110, if someone is bitten or attacked by a dog in a public or private place, or on the dog owner's property, the dog's owner is liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or attacked by the dog. This also applies to people who don't own the dog, but who are taking care of the animal – they too can be held liable.

The law may not apply to:

  • Someone who was attacked after provoking or harassing a dog,
  • Someone who was bitten by a police dog who was performing their official duties, and
  • Someone who was unlawfully on the dog owner's property, for example, to commit a crime or commit a theft.

Dog bites and attacks are not to be taken lightly. In the past, dog bites and attacks nationwide have led to permanent scarring and disfigurement, multiple reconstructive surgeries, thousands in medical bills, psychological damage, a lifelong fear of dogs, and even death for the dog attack victims.

If you, or someone you love has been attacked by a dog while lawfully in a public or a private place, you may be entitled to compensation. We encourage you to contact Masella Law Firm, meet with an experienced member of our legal team to discuss filing a claim for compensation.

Contact our Columbia personal injury law firm for a personal case evaluation.

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