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I was bitten by a dog. The owner apologized and said the dog was a rescue. Is that a valid legal defense?

No, there is no exception or defense in the law for dogs that are rescues. Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois dog bite statutes do not differentiate between dogs that have been rescued from pounds, puppy mills, or other locations and those that have been bred with love and good care.

Dog Owners Are Responsible for Their Dogs’ Actions

This is true regardless of how the dog owner came to own the dog. Regardless of an animal’s upbringing or prior homes, any dog can bite a person. If a rescue dog has bitten you, then your right to recovery is the same as if you were bitten by any other dog, and you may be able to recover if you were bitten and injured. The amount of damages that you can recover may depend on things such as:

  • Whether you dog hurt anyone else before he attacked you.
  • The specific injuries that you suffered such as scarring, infection, or disfigurement.
  • The amount of your medical expenses and lost wages.

Generally, you may be able to recover damages from the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance if you have been injured.

Now Is the Time to Protect Your Rights

If you have been injured by a rescue dog, or any other dog, then now is the time to protect your rights. Please download a FREE copy of our dog bite brochure today and please fill out our online contact form to schedule a free, no obligation meeting with one of our experienced lawyers.


Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham