It’s a sad but all too common scenario. A beloved family pet is out for a walk with his owner when, for no apparent reason, he is viciously attacked by another dog. In many cases, the damage sustained in these attacks is catastrophic, requiring expensive and ongoing veterinary care. And in some tragic cases, the victim dog does not survive the attack.
In Arizona, dog attacks are subject to Fabian’s law – officially known as House Bill 2137. This law was implemented in 2011, two years after a miniature poodle named Fabian was attacked and killed by another dog. Fabian’s law increased penalties for the owners of dogs who bite and attack other dogs and humans. Under this law, anyone who owns or is responsible for caring for an “aggressive dog” must take reasonable care to:
- Control the dog in a way that prevents the pet from biting or attacking a human or another animal while the dog is off the owner’s property
- Prevent the dog from escaping outside or escaping from an enclosed area; and
According to the statute, an aggressive dog is one that has bitten a person or another domestic animal without provocation, or a dog that has a known history of attacking people or other domestic animals without provocation.
Reasonable care is defined as the level of care that a person of ordinary prudence would exercise under the same circumstances.
Penalties For Violation Fabian’s Law
A violation of the first clause – preventing the dog from escaping – is a class 1 misdemeanor. A violation of the second clause – failing to prevent the dog from attacking – is a class 3 misdemeanor.
Class 1 Misdemeanor
If you’re convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor, you face the following penalties:
- A fine of up to $2,500
- Up to 6 months in jail
- A fine of up to $150,000
- Up to 2 years in jail
Jail time is not required, and a judge can instead decide to impose a sentence of probation of up to 3 years.
Class 3 Misdemeanor
If you’re convicted of a class 3 misdemeanor, you face the following penalties:
- Up to $500 in fines
- Up to 1 month in jail
- Up to 1 year of probation
One or More Previous Convictions Within The Last 2 Years
- Up to $750 in fines
- Up to 4 months in jail
- Up to 2 years of probation
What to do if Your Dog Gets Attacked by Another Dog
If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of seeing your dog get attacked by another dog, you know how upsetting it can be. Dogs are family members, and no one wants to see them in pain. In the moment, it can be hard to think clearly about what to do next. But knowing what to do (and what not to do) if your dog is attacked can make all the difference in the outcome.
First, it’s important to remain calm. Getting upset or angry will only escalate the situation and could put you at risk of getting bitten as well. If possible, move yourself and your dog away from the other dog and give them some space. Once you’re at a safe distance, assess the situation.
If your dog is bleeding, apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or bandage. If they are in pain, give them some room and try to keep them calm until you can get them to a veterinarian or emergency animal hospital. Depending on the severity of the bite, your dog may need stitches or other medical treatment.
It’s also important to take action against the other dog’s owner if their pet has caused harm to yours. Animal bites should be reported to animal control so that they can investigate the incident and determine if the other dog is up-to-date on their vaccinations.