Dogs are a part of everyday life in Alaska. Whether kept as a pet or used as a working dog, dogs are everywhere in Alaska. Unfortunately, when dogs are put together with people, injuries are bound to occur.  What happens in Alaska when a dog bites a person?


Alaska Law

Alaska does not have a specific dog bite statute, unlike many other jurisdictions. This simply means that there is no specific law enumerating liabilities for dog owners when their animal injures someone. However, common law and court opinions give details on how dog bite victims may recover for their injuries.


One Bite Rule

Alaska follows a rule of law known as the one bite rule. This means that an owner may be held strictly liable for injuries caused by his or her animal if the dog had a propensity to cause injury and the owner knew or should have known of the dog’s propensity to cause injury. In other words, a dog is given the opportunity to show viciousness before the owner is held to a higher standard for liability. Owners are not the only party who can be held liable under Alaskan court precedence. Third parties such as land owners and management companies can be held liable, as well, if they are aware of a dog’s dangerous propensities and do nothing to prevent an attack if they have a legal obligation to do so.



Dog bite victims also can recover from an owner under the theory of negligence. Under negligence, a victim must prove that the dog owner had a duty to the victim (here, to keep the victim safe from the dog), the owner breached that duty, and the injuries the victim sustained were proximately caused by the owner’s breach of duty. The majority of cases regarding dog bites are usually based on this theory.


Negligence Per Se

Alaskan courts have ruled that owners can also be held liable under a theory of negligence per se.  This means that a violation of a statute or regulation is proof of negligence without there being any further need to prove fault. This theory can often be applied to incidents involving dogs. If a municipality has a leash law and an unleashed animal causes injury, it is possible to pursue a case based on negligence per se. Anchorage, for example, has a leash law that requires owners to control their animals at all times unless the animal is engaged in an activity that restraint would preclude and the animal is in an area normally associated with that activity and the activity is conducted in a way to minimize impact with the general public. This theory of law would also apply if a dog was leashed but brought into an establishment or area where dogs were otherwise prohibited.


Dogs are pervasive in Alaskan society. People take them to work, to bars and everywhere in between. Most dog owners are responsible and work to ensure that their dogs are safe and the dogs are safe to be around. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If you live in the Anchorage area and you or your loved one has been injured by a dog, you have rights that need to be protected. The skilled attorneys at Power and Power Law have decades of experience making sure victims get the results they deserve. Give us a call today at 907-222-9990 or toll free at 833-669-9990 or click here to set up your initial consultation and put our years of experience to work for you.