Utah Dog Bite Statute—2021 Legislative Update.

Law enforcement should be using effective police dogs in police work as allowed under Utah law. Use of effective police dogs helps keep the public safe. Effective 2021 Utah has amended its dog bite statute to allow for civil money damage lawsuits against police agencies when:

(a). The dog and handler were not certified and trained under the Law Enforcement Canine Team Certification Act,

(b).  The governmental agency responsible for the police dog did not follow their written policy, and

(c).  The dog and handler were not acting reasonably and carefully when the dog causing injury occurred.

This is still a very tough mountain to climb for any compensation for unreasonable police dog bites, but it’s a start.  Dog bites can be devastating.  For more information see utahlegislature.org.  See this article for more information on Utah dog attacks or bites.  https://gunterinjurylaw.com/practice-areas/dog-attack-or-bites/


The 2021 redline amended dog bite statute reads:

32          18-1-1. Liability and damages for dog injury — Dogs used in law enforcement.

33          (1) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (2), a person who owns or keeps a dog is
34     liable for an injury caused by the dog, regardless of whether:
35          (i) the dog is vicious or mischievous; or
36          (ii) the owner knows the dog is vicious or mischievous.
37          (b) Damages for an injury described in Subsection (1)(a) shall be determined in
38     accordance with Section 78B-5-818.
39          (2) Neither the state nor any county, city, metro township, or town in the state nor any
40     peace officer employed by the state, a county, a city, a metro township, or a town shall be liable
41     in damages for an injury caused by a dog, if:
42          (a) the dog and the dog’s law enforcement handler are trained to
43     assist in law enforcement[;] and are certified according to the standards adopted in Title 53,
44     Chapter 6, Part 4, Law Enforcement Canine Team Certification Act;
45          (b) the governmental agency has adopted a written policy on the necessary and
46     appropriate use of dogs in official law enforcement duties;
47          (c) the actions of the dog’s handler do not violate the agency’s written policy; and
48          (d) the injury occurs while the dog is reasonably and carefully being used in the
49     apprehension, arrest, or location of a suspected offender or in maintaining or controlling the
50     public order.

Utah personal injury attorney Jake Gunter handles dog bite cases state wide. Call (801) 373-6345 for a free consultation.

NOTE: There is a LINK to a deeper article on my webpage.