If you were attacked by a dog in Independence, Missouri, you should get a lawyer involved quickly after the incident to gather evidence, make sure you get the immediate medical treatment that you need, and put the dog owner’s insurance company on notice of your claim. By giving the insurance company notice of a claim, the insurance company cannot talk to you anymore and has to go through your personal injury lawyer to communicate about the dog bite incident. There is a good chance that the dog’s owner in Independence is also charged criminally for the dog bite.

Dog Bite Laws in Independence, MissouriThe city of Independence, Missouri has certain laws codified in chapter three that involves animals (including dogs). In Independence, Missouri, an Animal Services Officer is appointed by the Director of Health and paid by the City. That Animal Services Officer also hires assistants who administer and enforce the provisions of chapter three, including accounting for and impounding animals and rescuing any animal that is being abused or neglected. In Independence, Missouri it is unlawful for any person in charge of a residence to keep or allow more than four (4) dogs or cats over the age of six (6) months. A dog is defined in Independence of being a member of the species Canis Lupus Familiaris and more than six (6) months of age while a “puppy” is under six (6) months of age. A “public nuisance animal” means “any animal that unreasonably annoys humans, endangers the life or health of another animals and persons, or substantially interferes with the rights of citizens, other than their owners, to enjoyment of life or property.” Finally “serious bodily injury” is defined to mean “any laceration to or avulsion of the face of a human being, any laceration to or avulsion of another area of a human being’s or animal’s body that may require sutures, any fractured or dislocated bone, permanent never damage, partial or total loss of use of a part of the body.”

The owner of any dog shall keep his or her dog under restraint at all times and the Animal Services Officer may capture and impound animals that are not properly restrained. A Judge shall fine the owner of an unrestrained dog a fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) and not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00). In addition to the fine, a Judge may also direct that the dog be spayed or neutered. Those minimum fines go up if a dog is found to be unrestrained a second or third time. It is also unlawful in the city of Independence for any person to own a dog or cat over the age of four (4) months of age without procuring a rabies vaccination administered by a licensed veterinarian. Independence has a pit bull ban codified in Section 3.03.006 that makes it unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport, or sell within the City any pit bull.

In Independence it is unlawful to have an aggressive, dangerous, or vicious dog. Independence law states it is unlawful for: “any person to permit a dog owned by him/her, or a dog upon any premises occupied by him/her or under his/her control to demonstrate the behavior of an aggressive [or dangerous or vicious] dog.” Independence Code exempts police dogs used in an official capacity from being classified as aggressive, vicious, or dangerous. An “Aggressive Dog” is one that:

  1. Attacks another domestic animal upon property other than that of the owner of the attacking dog.
  2. Displays behaviors, which constitute a threat of bodily harm to a person when such person is conducting himself or herself peacefully and lawfully.

A dog is not aggressive if the injury sustained was by:

  • A member of the household, or;
  • Teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog or was committing or attempting to commit a crime, or;
  • [Dog was] protecting or defending a human being within the immediate vicinity of the animal from an unjustified attack or assault.

In Independence, Missouri, a “Dangerous Dog:”

  • Attacks a person, resulting in an injury when such person is conducting himself or herself peacefully and lawfully.
  • Attacks another domestic animal on property other than that of the owner of the attacking dog, resulting in serious bodily injury to or death of the victim animal.
  • Has previously been classified as an aggressive dog under Section 3.03.007 and has committed another violation of Section 3.03.007A.
  • A dog is not classified as dangerous if person injured was / dog was:
    • Teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog or was committing or attempting to commit a crime, or;
    • Protecting or defending a human being within the immediate vicinity of the animal from an unjustified attack or assault.

In Independence, Missouri, a “Vicious Dog:”

  • Has caused serious bodily injury or death to any person, or
  • Has been previously classified as a dangerous dog.
  • A dog is not classified as vicious if injured person at time of injury was:
    • Abusing or assaulting the dog or was committing or attempting to commit a crime, or;
    • Protecting or defending a human being within the immediate vicinity of the animal from an unjustified attack or assault.

Required Maintenance of Each Dog Classification

If Agressive

The Dog must be:

  • Permanently identified with a microchip
  • Spayed or neutered within 10 days of being classified
  • “Confined in a fully enclosed, secure structure from which it cannot escape”
  • It is unlawful for aggressive dog to be tethered or enclosed from a place it can escape

Liability

  • Imposed fine no less than $150 & no greater than $500
  • Could also be imprisoned for up to 90 days

Dangerous

The Dog must be:

  • Permanently identified with a microchip
  • Spayed or neutered within 10 days of being classified
  • “Confined in a fully enclosed, secure structure from which it cannot escape”
  • Wear a bright orange collar at all times
  • Owner must display a dangerous dog sign visible and legible from public highway or property entrance
  • Owner must provide proof of liability insurance that amounts to at least $300,000.
  • Unlawful to keep a dog deemed aggressive, vicious, or dangerous in another jurisdiction

Liability

  • 1st Offense: Imposed fine no less than $150 & no greater than $500
  • 2nd Offense: Fine no less than $350 & no more than $500 - Could get up to 180 days in jail

Vicious

Liability:

  • 1st Offense: Imposed fine no less than $150 & no greater than $500
  • 2nd Offense: Fine no less than $350 & no more than $500 - Could get up to 180 days in jail

Evidence

In every dog classification, the following evidence can be considered in a dog attack case:

  • Witness testimony of dog’s unlawful behavior
  • Severity of injuries
  • Testimony from Animal Services Officer
  • Past incidents involving the same dog
  • Size of the dog
  • Conditions where dog was kept
  • Training given to the dog
  • Other relevant evidence may be considered.

Our Dog Bite Lawyers Help Victims in Missouri & Kansas Get The Compensation They Deserve After a Dog Bite

Since the laws surrounding these dog bite injuries are nuanced, it is always best to get advice from an experienced personal injury attorney after a dog attack. Foster Wallace, LLC assists dog bite victims across the Kansas City metropolitan area, including in Independence, Missouri, on a contingency fee basis, so we do not collect any fees or payments until after your case is won. Call our office today or fill out our online contact form to set up a free initial consultation.

Michael Foster
Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney