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Understanding Arkansas Dog Bite Laws and Guidelines

Dog Bite Laws in Arkansas: What You Need to Know

Dogs can be loving companions, but they can also be dangerous. Each year, millions of people suffer from dog bites across the United States, with many of these incidents leading to serious injuries or even death.

In Arkansas, dog bite laws are in place to provide justice for victims and hold dog owners accountable for their pet’s actions. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of dog bite laws in Arkansas, including the lack of statewide dog bite statute, counties with “One Bite Rule” vs.

strict liability ordinances, negligence and liability for dog attacks, restitution and personal injury claims, doctrine of “Scienter” or “One Free Bite Rule,” definition of a dangerous/vicious dog in Arkansas, unlawful dog attack and penalties, dog biting a child in Arkansas, filing a personal injury claim, and more.

Lack of Statewide Dog Bite Statute

Unlike many states in the United States, Arkansas does not have a statewide dog bite statute. Instead, cities and counties are responsible for establishing their own dog bite ordinances.

This means that the rules and regulations regarding dog bites can vary greatly depending on where you live in Arkansas. Counties with “One Bite Rule” vs.

Strict Liability Ordinances

Some Arkansas counties follow the “One Bite Rule,” which suggests that dog owners are not liable for their dog’s first bite, but can be held responsible for any subsequent bites. Other counties follow strict liability ordinances, which hold dog owners liable for all damages caused by their pets, regardless of whether the dog has a history of aggression.

It is crucial to know the specific ordinances in your community because it can have a significant impact on the outcome of a dog bite case.

Negligence and Liability for Dog Attacks

In Arkansas, if a dog owner is proven to have acted negligently or recklessly, they can be held liable for any harm caused by their pet. This includes, but is not limited to, failing to properly leash or contain the dog and neglecting to take necessary precautions to prevent the dog from attacking someone.

Additionally, dog owners may also be held liable if they knew or should have known that their pet was dangerous, yet failed to take reasonable measures to prevent injuries.

Restitution and Personal Injury Claims

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Arkansas, you may be entitled to financial restitution for any injuries sustained as a result of the attack. This includes medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

In order to pursue a personal injury claim, you must establish that the dog owner acted negligently or recklessly, and that their actions directly led to your injuries. Doctrine of “Scienter” or “One Free Bite Rule”

Arkansas follows the legal doctrine of “Scienter” or “One Free Bite Rule.” This doctrine suggests that a dog owner cannot be held liable for their pet’s first bite unless they knew or should have known that their dog had a tendency to bite.

Essentially, this means that the first time a dog bites someone, the dog owner is not responsible for any resulting injuries, unless they were aware of the dog’s dangerous behavior. Definition of a Dangerous/Vicious Dog in Arkansas

A “dangerous dog” is defined as a dog that has bitten, attacked, or caused injury to any person without provocation.

A “vicious dog” is one that has caused serious injury or death to any person without justification. If a dog has been deemed dangerous or vicious, the owner may face significant fines, penalties, and even criminal charges.

Unlawful Dog Attack and Penalties

In Arkansas, it is against the law for a dog to attack a person or another animal without provocation. Anyone who allows their dog to engage in such behavior can be held liable for any damages caused by the attack.

Additionally, the owner of the dog may face criminal charges and penalties, including fines and jail time.

Dog Biting a Child in Arkansas

If a dog bites a child in Arkansas, the child’s legal guardian or parent can file a lawsuit against the dog owner for any resulting injuries and damages. In addition to the personal injury claim, the dog owner may also face criminal charges for allowing their animal to harm a child.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog in Arkansas, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Once you have received treatment for your injuries, you may want to consider filing a personal injury claim.

To do so, you will need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the complex legal process and get the compensation you deserve.


In conclusion, dog bite laws in Arkansas are complex and can vary from county to county. It is essential to have a thorough understanding of these laws in order to protect yourself and those around you from potentially dangerous situations.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a dog, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal options. Guidelines for Dog Owners in Arkansas: How to Keep Your Pet and Community Safe

Dogs are a beloved part of many families, but with that ownership comes responsibility.

As a dog owner, you have a duty to ensure your pet is well-behaved, properly trained, and does not pose a threat to the community. In Arkansas, there are specific guidelines that dog owners must follow to help protect the safety of their pets and others around them.

In this article, we will explore crucial guidelines for dog owners in Arkansas, including leash laws, confinement regulations, no-trespass and warning signs, and the best defenses for dog owners.

Leash Laws and Confinement

One of the most essential guidelines for dog owners in Arkansas is to abide by leash laws and to properly confine their pets. Leash laws vary from county to county, so it is important to check with your local ordinances to ensure you are in compliance.

Leash laws serve as a protective measure to ensure the safety of both the dog and others in the community. Additionally, if your dog is not on a leash, it is considered “at large.” When a dog is at large, it can pose a danger to the community and may be subject to impoundment or fines.

Proper confinement, whether it be in a fenced yard or inside the home, is crucial for preventing your dog from wandering outside of your property and potentially causing harm to others.

No-Trespass and Warning Signs

Another important guideline for dog owners in Arkansas is to post no-trespass and warning signs on their property. These signs serve as a public announcement that your property is property protected by a dog, and it alerts anyone who sees it to be cautious and aware of potential dangers.

By posting no-trespass signs, you can protect yourself and your pet from potential liability if someone trespasses on your property and is harmed by your dog.

Best Defenses for Dog Owners

Despite your best efforts to follow the guidelines for dog owners in Arkansas, you may still find yourself facing legal issues related to your pet. Some of the best defenses for dog owners include trespassing and provocation.

If a person is trespassing on your property, they may be held responsible for any injuries they suffer as a result of being bitten or attacked by your dog. Additionally, if someone provokes your dog into attacking, they may also be held responsible for any resulting injuries or damages.

However, it is important to note that these defenses can be difficult to prove in court, and it is always better to take proactive measures to prevent incidents from occurring in the first place.


In conclusion, following the guidelines for dog owners in Arkansas is essential for protecting the safety of your pet and the community around you. By abiding by leash laws and properly confining your dog, you can prevent potential incidents that may lead to legal issues or injuries.

Additionally, posting no-trespass and warning signs on your property, and understanding the best defenses for dog owners can help protect you and your pet in the unfortunate event that something goes wrong. Remember, being a responsible dog owner is not only important for your pet’s well-being but also for the safety and well-being of those around them.

Dog owners in Arkansas have a responsibility to ensure that their pets are not a danger to the community. Leash laws and confinement regulations are fundamental guidelines that owners must adhere to, and no-trespass and warning signs must be displayed on the property to warn people of potential harm.

If a dog does cause harm, trespass and provocation can be viable defenses in certain circumstances. These guidelines are in place to keep both pets and people safe.

It is important to take these guidelines seriously, and as owners, be responsible for our pets’ welfare and the safety of others around them.

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