Are Beware of Dog signs bad? Expert Advice

Is it illegal to not have a Beware of Dog sign?

Dog owners are also liable if their dogs chase after someone who was on the owner’s property and bites the passerby. … No written protection exists if the owner has put up a Beware of Dog sign. However, if the dog bite victim was trespassing, a No Trespassing sign can help reduce liability in the event of a lawsuit.

What happens if my dog attacks a trespasser?

In cases where the person who was bitten by a dog was trespassing, the property owner is typically not held liable for any injuries sustained, even under the strict liability rule. Ultimately, with very few exceptions, a dog owner is not responsible for a dog bite to a trespasser.

As to the knowledge which the [dog] owner must possess in order to charge him with liability … actual notice of the viciousness or mischievous propensities of the animal are not necessary. It is sufficient if he knew or should have known that the animal was a probable cause of harm…. where it is shown that on previous occasions the dog had rushed at other persons in a vicious manner, and that his keeper had been obliged to call him off, or that the dog had chased a witness for the plaintiff and had been beaten off by stones, and was always growling at passersby, the viciousness of the dog is sufficiently established. Id. Thus, in Snyder, it appears the court did not plainly rest its conclusion on the warning sign alone. It looked to other factors as well, which may well have been given greater weight. This is apparent from the fact that the court nowhere mentions anything concerning the warning sign in its conclusion. Id. at 188-89. Its only reference to the warning sign is with respect to the adoption of the standard itself. In Sheptak v. Wagner, 23 Pa. D. & C.3d 46 (1982), the court, in adopting Snyder, did refer to the sign, but only to point out that the sign was in reference to a dog different from the one that attacked the plaintiff. In Sheptak, the court ruled in favor of the defendant, and similar to Snyder, the court referred to the various other factors adopted by the Snyder court as well. Id. Although it was unclear what weight the court attached to each factor, it was apparent that the court did not consider any one factor to be controlling. Id. Thus, while a “Beware of Dog(s)” warning sign is certainly relevant, a plaintiff is unlikely to be successful in establishing liability against the defendant dog owner if they cannot make a sufficient showing on some of the other factors of the dog’s dangerous propensity.

Dangerous Dogs Behind “Beware Of Dog” Signs