Dog parks are leash-optional areas where dogs can be allowed to run around and play with other dogs without the danger of running into traffic. While dog parks can be fun places for dogs to socialize and play, they may also increase the risk that dogs – or dog owners – will be attacked by other, more aggressive dogs.
In fact, when entering a dog park, a dog owner takes on a certain assumption of risk and may even waive certain rights when entering the dog park. As a result, it’s crucial that dog owners read all posted signs prior to entering dog parks so that they are fully aware of what risks they are taking on when they enter these parks.
Despite the assumption of risk associated with dog parks, however, it’s important to note that:
- There are currently no precedents for how signs at dog parks (such as “Enter at Your Own Risk”) should be interpreted by dog owners and what specific rights dogs owners may (or may not) relinquish upon entering dog parks with such posted signs.
- The “leash optional” element of dog parks simply means that city or county ordinances regarding use of leashes doesn’t strictly apply within the dog park zone.
- Many dog parks are considered to be public property, meaning that the public has a reasonable expectation of safety from dog attacks in public dog parks. This also means that the state’s dog bite laws will generally apply in public dog parks.
Find out if you have a viable dog bite injury case by contacting Brown & Brown, LLP today for a free consultation. We serve clients throughout the St. Louis area of Missouri (call the 3s: 314-333-3333 or 573-333-3333), as well as Illinois (dial 8s: 618-888-8888).