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Mauled in Public Park, River, or Lake in Washington

The last thing you expect when you are at a public park, river, or lake is that you will be attacked by a dog. Unfortunately, there are times when irresponsible pet owners allow their dogs to wander uncontrolled or off-leash. At Colburn Law, we have a track record of success recovering compensation for those who have sustained severe dog bite injuries. Here, we want to review what happens if you are bitten or mauled by a dog at a park, river, or lake in Washington.

What Are the Leash Laws?

One thing that many Washington dog owners know is that there is no statewide leash law. However, just because the state itself does not have a leash law does not mean that the municipalities cannot make their own rules.

Each city and town is allowed to establish its own laws regarding dog ownership, and they do. For example, when we look at the law in Seattle, we can see that all animals, except for cats and pigeons, are required to be on a leash within the city limits. The law specifically states that animals are not allowed to run loose anywhere in the city except for in designated off-leash areas.

This is just an example from Seattle. We can pull leash laws from just about every municipality in the state of Washington and find similarly worded language.

We bring up leash laws specifically because there should never be a time at a public park, river, or lake where a dog is on the loose and able to bite somebody. Even when we look at the laws pertaining to Washington state parks, we can see that “All pets or domestic animals must be kept under physical control, on a leash no greater than eight feet in length, or otherwise physically restrained, at all times while in a state park area” (WAC 352-32-060).

Everyone should be able to enjoy their time in a public place without having to worry about whether they will be attacked by a dog. Unfortunately, there are many people who think their dogs are “harmless,” when the truth is that a bite incident can occur due to a variety of factors, regardless of a dog’s temperament.

The Dog Owner Will Likely be Held Liable

Washington state has a “strict liability” dog bite law in place. This means that a dog’s owner will be held liable for any dog bite injury that occurs to a person who is in a public place or lawfully in a private location. If a dog bite occurs at a public park, river, or lake in the state of Washington, then liability will almost always fall to the dog owner, so long as the injury victim did not purposely provoke the dog and cause the dog to react aggressively.

Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer Immediately

If you or somebody you care about has sustained a dog bite injury in the state of Washington, you need to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible. A dog bite injury attorney will be an advocate standing by your side throughout this process. Not only will they examine your claim and gather the evidence needed to prove liability, but they will handle all negotiations with the insurance carrier and at-fault party on your behalf. The ultimate goal is to recover full compensation for your losses, and this can include coverage of medical bills, lost wages, as well as compensation for any pain and suffering you experience. Do not try to handle these claims on your own; call or contact Colburn Law today to schedule your free consultation.