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AZ Dog Bites
Dog Bite Laws

You are here: Home  Arizona Law  Arizona Dog Bite Law Arizona Dog Bite Statutes

Arizona Dog Bite Law Statutes

The Arizona dog law is found in Arizona Revised Statutes Sections 11-1001 to 11-1027.  Selected provisions are found below.  Note Sections 11-1020 and 11-1025 that provide for liability for dog bites.  See also A.R.S. Section 13-1208, which imposes criminal liability for dog bites in certain cases.

11-1001 Definitions
11-1008 License Fees for Dogs; Issuance of Dog Tags; Records; Classification
11-1012 Dogs not Permitted at Large; Wearing Licenses
11-1013 Establishment of County Pounds; Impounding and Disposing of Dogs and Cats; Reclaiming Impounded Dogs and Cats; Pound Fees
11-1014 Biting Animals; Reporting; Handling and Destruction
11-1015 Unlawful Interference with County Enforcement Agent
11-1016 Removing Impounded Animals
11-1017 Unlawful Keeping of Dogs
11-1018 Exemption of Cities, Towns and Counties
11-1019 Violation; Classification
11-1020 Dogs; Liability
11-1023 Unauthorized Release of Animals; Classification; Damages
11-1024 Dog Guides and Service Dogs; Rights; Procedures; Violation; Classification; Definitions
11-1025 Liability for Dog Bites
11-1026 Lawful Presence on Private Property Defined
11-1027 Provocation as Defense
13-1208 Assault; Vicious Animals; Classification; Exception

 

Arizona Revised Statutes Concerning Dogs

11-1001. Definitions

In section 13-1208 and in this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

1. "Animal" means any animal of a species that is susceptible to rabies, except man.

2. "At large" means being neither confined by an enclosure nor physically restrained by a leash.

3. "County board of health" means the duly constituted board of health of each county.

4. "County enforcement agent" means that person in each county who is responsible for the enforcement of this article and the rules adopted under this article.

5. "County pound" means any establishment authorized by the county board of supervisors for the confinement, maintenance, safekeeping and control of dogs and other animals that come into the custody of the county enforcement agent in the performance of his official duties.

6. "Department" means the department of health services.

7. "Impound" means the act of taking or receiving into custody by the county enforcement agent any dog or other animal for the purpose of confinement in a county pound in accordance with the provisions of this article.

8. "Kennel" means an enclosed, controlled area, inaccessible to other animals, in which a person keeps, harbors or maintains five or more dogs under controlled conditions.

9. "Livestock" means neat animals, horses, sheep, goats, swine, mules and asses.

10. "Owner" means any person keeping an animal other than livestock for more than six consecutive days.

11. "Rabies quarantine area" means any area in which a state of emergency has been declared to exist due to the occurrence of rabies in animals in or adjacent to this area.

12. "Stray dog" means any dog four months of age or older running at large that is not wearing a valid license tag.

13. "Vaccination" means the administration of an anti-rabies vaccine to animals by a veterinarian.

14. "Veterinarian", unless otherwise indicated, means any veterinarian licensed to practice in this state or any veterinarian employed in this state by a governmental agency.

15. "Veterinary hospital" means any establishment operated by a veterinarian licensed to practice in this state that provides clinical facilities and houses animals or birds for dental, medical or surgical treatment. A veterinary hospital may have adjacent to it or in conjunction with it or as an integral part of it pens, stalls, cages or kennels for quarantine, observation or boarding.

16. "Vicious animal" means any animal of the order carnivora that has a propensity to attack, to cause injury to or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings without provocation, or that has been so declared after a hearing before a justice of the peace or a city magistrate.

11-1008. License Fees for Dogs; Issuance of Dog Tags; Records; Classification

A. The board of supervisors of each county may set a license fee which shall be paid for each dog four months of age or over that is kept, harbored or maintained within the boundaries of the state for at least thirty consecutive days of each calendar year. License fees shall become payable at the discretion of the board of supervisors of each county. The licensing period shall not exceed the period of time for revaccination as designated by the state veterinarian. License fees shall be paid within ninety days to the board of supervisors. A penalty not to exceed two dollars shall be added to the license fee in the event that application is made subsequent to the date on which the dog is required to be licensed under the provisions of this article. This penalty shall not be assessed against applicants who furnish adequate proof that the dog to be licensed has been in their possession in Arizona less than thirty consecutive days.

B. If the board of supervisors adopts a license fee, the board shall provide durable dog tags. Each dog licensed under the terms of this article shall receive, at the time of licensing, such a tag on which shall be inscribed the name of the county, the number of the license, and the date on which it expires. The tag shall be attached to a collar or harness which shall be worn by the dog at all times while running at large, except as otherwise provided in this article. Whenever a dog tag is lost, a duplicate tag shall be issued upon application by the owner and payment of a fee established by the board of supervisors.

C. The board of supervisors may set license fees that are lower for dogs permanently incapable of procreation. An applicant for a license for a dog claimed to be incapable of procreation shall furnish adequate proof satisfactory to the enforcement agent that such dog has been surgically altered to be permanently incapable of procreation.

D. All fees and penalties shall be deposited in the rabies control fund pursuant to section 11-1011.

E. Any person who knowingly fails within fifteen days after written notification from the county enforcement agent to obtain a license for a dog required to be licensed, counterfeits an official dog tag, removes such tag from any dog for the purpose of intentional and malicious mischief or places a dog tag upon a dog unless the tag was issued for that particular dog is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

11-1012. Dogs not Permitted at Large; Wearing Licenses

A. Neither a female dog during her breeding or mating season nor a vicious dog shall be permitted at large.

B. In a rabies quarantine area, no dogs shall be permitted at large. Each dog shall be confined within an enclosure on the owner's property, or secured so that the dog is confined entirely to the owner's property, or on a leash not to exceed six feet in length and directly under the owner's control when not on the owner's property.

C. Any dog over the age of four months running at large shall wear a collar or harness to which is attached a valid license tag. Dogs used for control of livestock or while being used or trained for hunting or dogs while being exhibited or trained at a kennel club event or dogs while engaged in races approved by the Arizona racing commission, and such dogs while being transported to and from such events, need not wear a collar or harness with a valid license attached provided that they are properly vaccinated, licensed and controlled.

D. No person in charge of any dog shall permit such dog in a public park or upon any public school property unless the dog is physically restrained by a leash, enclosed in a car, cage or similar enclosure, or being exhibited or trained at a recognized kennel club event, public school or park sponsored event.

11-1013. Establishment of County Pounds; Impounding and Disposing of Dogs and Cats; Reclaiming Impounded Dogs and Cats; Pound Fees

A. The board of supervisors in each county may provide or authorize a county pound or pounds or enter into a cooperative agreement with a city, a veterinarian or an Arizona incorporated humane society for the establishment and operation of a county pound.

B. Any stray dog shall be impounded. All dogs and cats impounded shall be given proper care and maintenance.

C. Each stray dog or any cat impounded shall be kept and maintained at the county pound for a minimum of seventy-two hours unless claimed by its owner. Any person may purchase such a dog or cat upon expiration of the impoundment period, provided such person pays all pound fees established by the county board of supervisors and complies with the licensing and vaccinating provisions of this article. If such dog or cat is to be used for medical research, no license or vaccination shall be required.

D. Any impounded licensed dog or any cat may be reclaimed by its owner or such owner's agent provided that the person reclaiming the dog or cat furnishes proof of his right to do so and pays all pound fees established by the board of supervisors. Any person purchasing such a dog or cat shall pay all pound fees established by the board of supervisors.

E. If the dog or cat is not reclaimed within the impoundment period, the county enforcement agent shall take possession of and may place the dog or cat for sale or may dispose of the dog or cat in a humane manner. The county enforcement agent may destroy impounded sick or injured dogs or cats if destruction is necessary to prevent the dog or cat from suffering or to prevent the spread of disease.

11-1014. Biting Animals; Reporting; Handling & Destruction

A. An unvaccinated dog or cat that bites any person shall be confined and quarantined in a county pound, or, upon request of and at the expense of the owner, at a veterinary hospital for a period of not less than ten days. The quarantine period shall start on the day of the bite incident. If the day of the bite is not known, the quarantine period shall start on the first day of impoundment. A dog properly vaccinated pursuant to this article that bites any person may be confined and quarantined at the home of the owner or wherever the dog is harbored and maintained with the consent of and in a manner prescribed by the county enforcement agent.

B. Any domestic animal, other than a dog, cat, a caged or pet rodent or rabbit, that bites any person shall be confined and quarantined in a county pound or, upon the request and at the expense of the owner, at a veterinary hospital for a period of not less than fourteen days. Livestock shall be confined and quarantined for the fourteen-day period in a manner regulated by the Arizona department of agriculture. Caged or pet rodents or rabbits shall not be quarantined or laboratory tested.

C. With the exception of a wild rodent or rabbit, any wild animal that bites any person or directly exposes any person to its saliva, may be killed and submitted to the county enforcement agent or the agent's deputies for transport to an appropriate diagnostic laboratory. A wild rodent or rabbit may be submitted for laboratory testing if the animal has bitten a person and either the animal's health or behavior indicates that the animal may have rabies or the bite occurred in an area that contains a rabies epizootic, as determined by the department.

D. Whenever an animal bites any person, the incident shall be reported to the county enforcement agent immediately by any person having direct knowledge.

E. The county enforcement agent may destroy any animal confined and quarantined pursuant to this section prior to the termination of the minimum confinement period for laboratory examination for rabies if:

1. The animal shows clear clinical signs of rabies.

2. The animal's owner consents to its destruction.

F. Any animal subject to licensing under this article found without a tag identifying its owner shall be deemed unowned.

G. The county enforcement agent shall destroy a vicious animal upon an order of a justice of the peace or a city magistrate. A justice of the peace or city magistrate may issue such an order after notice to the owner, if any, and a hearing.

11-1015. Unlawful Interference with County Enforcement Agent

It is unlawful for any person to interfere with the county enforcement agent in the performance of his duties.

11-1016. Removing Impounded Animals

No person may remove or attempt to remove an animal which has been impounded or which is in the possession of the county enforcement agent except in accordance with the provisions of this article and the regulations promulgated thereunder.

11-1017. Unlawful Keeping of Dogs

It is unlawful for a person to keep, harbor or maintain a dog within the state of Arizona except as provided by the terms of this article.

11-1018. Exemption of Cities, Towns & Counties

A. The provisions of this article shall not apply to incorporated cities or towns that impose a license fee and vaccination on dogs by ordinance, provided that such ordinance is equal to or more stringent than the provisions of this article.

B. The provisions of this article shall not apply to counties which regulate the running at large of dogs in the unincorporated areas of the county by ordinance provided that such ordinance is equal to or more stringent than the provisions of this article.

11-1019. Violation; Classification

Any person who fails to comply with the requirements of this article, or violates any of its provisions, is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor unless another classification is specifically prescribed in this article.

11-1020. Dogs; Liability

Injury to any person or damage to any property by a dog while at large shall be the full responsibility of the dog owner or person or persons responsible for the dog when such damages were inflicted.

11-1023. Unauthorized Release of animals; Classification; Damages

A person who intentionally releases an animal that is lawfully confined for scientific, research, commercial, educational or for public event, display or exhibition purposes without the consent of the owner or custodian of the animal is guilty of a class 6 felony and in addition is liable for all of the following:

1. To the owner of the animal for damages including the costs of restoring the animal to confinement and to its health condition before the release.

2. For damages to real and personal property caused by the released animal.

3. If the release causes the failure of an experiment or loss of market value, for all costs of repeating the experiment and the loss of value, including replacement of the animals, labor and materials.

11-1024. Dog Guides and Service Dogs; Rights; Procedures; Violation; Classification; Definitions

A. The legally blind, the visually impaired, the deaf and the auditorially impaired and the physically handicapped have the same right as all persons to the use of all streets, highways, walkways, common carriers, public lodging places, public eating places, public amusements and other places to which the general public is invited.

B. In any of the places listed in subsection A, every legally blind person may make use of a cane, predominately white or metallic in color, and every legally blind person, deaf person, physically handicapped person and dog guide trainer or service dog trainer may make use of a dog guide or service dog. These persons shall not be denied admittance nor be required to pay any admission charges for their dog guides or service dogs to such public places except as provided in subsection C. Such persons shall be liable for any damages done to the premises by their dog guides or service dogs. Any person using a dog guide or service dog may be required to identify the dog guide or service dog by exhibiting the dog's laminated identification card before the provisions of this section shall apply.

C. A zoo or wild animal park may prohibit a dog guide or service dog from any area of the zoo or park where the dog guide or service dog can come into direct contact with the animals contained in the zoo or park. Dog guides and service dogs shall not be excluded from public walkways or sidewalks or from any area that allows for physical barriers between the dog guides or service dogs and the animals in the zoo or park. Any zoo or wild animal park that prohibits dog guides and service dogs shall provide without cost adequate facilities for the temporary confinement of dog guides and service dogs. Such facilities shall be adequate to accommodate the anticipated attendance of legally blind, deaf or physically handicapped persons, shall be in an area not accessible to the general public, shall provide water for the dog guides and service dogs and shall otherwise be safe, clean and comfortable. The zoo or wild animal park on request by the legally blind person who is required to leave his dog guide or service dog pursuant to this subsection shall provide a sighted escort if the legally blind person is unaccompanied by a sighted person. In this subsection, "wild animal park" means an entity which is open to the public on a regular basis, which is licensed by the United States department of agriculture as an exhibit, and which is operating primarily to conserve, propagate and exhibit wild and exotic animals.

D. The driver of a vehicle approaching a legally blind pedestrian who is carrying a cane, predominately white or metallic in color, who is using a dog guide or service dog or who is assisted by a sighted person shall yield the right-of-way and take reasonable precautions to avoid injury to the pedestrian and the dog guide or service dog. The pedestrian has the same rights as any other person whether or not he is carrying the cane, using the dog guide or service dog or being assisted by a sighted person.

E. A driver who violates any provision of subsection D is liable for damages for any injury caused the pedestrian or his dog guide or service dog.

F. Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.

G. For purposes of this section:

1. "Dog guide" and "service dog" includes a dog guide or service dog in training.

2. "Dog guide trainer" and "service dog trainer" means any person working in conjunction with a dog guide or service dog training school, including salaried and volunteer trainers.

3. "Service dog" means a dog which has gone through a formal training program, which assists its owner in one or more daily living tasks associated with a productive life-style and which is sufficiently conditioned to be of no danger to the health and safety of the general public.

11-1025. Liability for Dog Bites

A. The owner of a dog which bites a person when the person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of its viciousness.

B. Nothing in this section or in section 11-1020 shall permit the bringing of an action for damages against any governmental agency using a dog in military or police work if the bite occurred while the dog was defending itself from a harassing or provoking act, or assisting an employee of the agency in any of the following:

1. In the apprehension or holding of a suspect where the employee has a reasonable suspicion of the suspect's involvement in criminal activity.

2. In the investigation of a crime or possible crime.

3. In the execution of a warrant.

4. In the defense of a peace officer or another person.

C. Subsection B of this section shall not apply in any case where the victim of the bite was not a party to, nor a participant in, nor suspected to be a party to or a participant in, the act that prompted the use of the dog in the military or police work.

D. Subsection B of this section shall apply only where a governmental agency using a dog in military or police work has adopted a written policy on the necessary and appropriate use of a dog for the police or military work enumerated in subsection B of this section.

11-1026. Lawful Presence on Private Property Defined

A person is lawfully in or on the private property of the owner of a dog within the meaning of this article when an invitee or guest, or when in the performance of a duty imposed upon him by law of the state or United States, or by ordinances of a municipality in which such property is located.

11-1027. Provocation as Defense

Proof of provocation of the attack by the person injured shall be a defense to the action for damages.

13-1208. Assault; Vicious Animals; Classification; Exception

A. A person who owns a dog which the owner knows or has reason to know has a propensity to attack, to cause injury or otherwise endanger the safety of human beings without provocation or which has been found to be a vicious animal by a court of competent authority, which bites, inflicts physical injury on or attacks a human being while at large is guilty of a class 6 felony.

B. A person who owns a dog which the owner knows or has reason to know that the dog has a propensity to attack, to cause injury or otherwise endanger the safety of human beings without provocation or which has been found to be a vicious animal and who keeps the dog or vicious animal in an enclosed area or yard outside of a residence or structure on the property shall post a notice indicating the presence of the dog or vicious animal.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply to dogs owned or used by a law enforcement agency and which are used in the performance of police work.

Related Information

Arizona Dog Bite Law

Arizona Dog Bite Law Resources

About Norman Keyt

Norm Keyt has been an Arizona lawyer since 1975.  He practices commercial civil litigation, including landlord-tenant disputes and evictions. In his thirty plus years of law practice, Norm has been lead counsel in over 100 jury trials.  Norm can be reached by telephone at 602-265-0273, email at  nck@keytlaw.com and fax at 602-265-5964.  Communicating with Norman Keyt via email or otherwise does not cause you to become a client or cause your communications to be confidential or subject to the attorney client privilege.

Arizona Statutes Caveat

We do not guaranty that the Arizona Revised Statutes displayed on www.keytlaw.com are current or complete versions of Arizona statutory law.  The statutory information is furnished "as is" and it may not include the current version of the law or new Arizona statutes.  See the Arizona State Legislature's web site for more information about the most recent version of Arizona statutes.

This page was last modified on December 05, 2010.

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