The Idaho dog bite statute is found at Idaho Code § 25-2810 and applies to dangerous and at-risk dogs that cause injuries. It provides as follows:
(1) For purposes of this act:
- “At-risk dog” means any dog that without justified provocation bites a person without causing a serious injury as defined in this section.
- “Dangerous dog” means any dog that:
- Without justified provocation has inflicted serious injury on a person; or
- Has been previously found to be at risk and thereafter bites or physically attacks a person without justified provocation.
- “Justified provocation” means to perform any act or omission that a reasonable person with common knowledge of dog behavior would conclude is likely to precipitate a bite or attack by an ordinary dog.
- “Physically attack” means an aggressive action upon a person by a dog which there is physical contact between the dog and the person.
- “Serious injury” means an injury to a person characterized by piercing of the hypodermis or tearing of the muscles, veins or arteries, or disfiguring lacerations that would cause a reasonably prudent person to seek treatment from a medical professional without regard to whether the person actually sought medical treatment.
(2) A petition for a court to declare a dog dangerous or at-risk may be brought by:
- Any person who has been bitten or physically attacked by the dog;
- A parent or guardian of any minor who has been bitten or physically attacked by the dog; or
- A county or city prosecuting attorney.
In such proceedings, it is not necessary for the petitioner to show that the owner, possessor or harborer of such dog had knowledge of the fact that the dog would behave in a manner consistent with the definition of a dangerous or at-risk dog.
(3) No dog may be declared to be a dangerous or at-risk dog when at the time an injury or damage was sustained, the precipitating cause constituted justified provocation. Justified provocation includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- The dog was protecting or defending a person within the immediate vicinity of the dog from an attack or assault;
- The person was committing a crime or offense upon the property of the owner or custodian of the dog;
- The person was at the time, or had in the past, willfully tormented, abused or assaulted the dog;
- The dog was responding to pain or injury or protecting its offspring;
- The dog was working as a hunting dog, herding dog or predator control dog on the property of, or under the control of, its owner or keeper, and the damage or injury sustained was to a person who was interfering with the dog while the dog was working in a place where it was lawfully engaged in such activity, including public lands;
- The dog was a service animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability; or
- The person was intervening between two (2) or more animals engaged in aggressive behavior or fighting.
(4) If a court finds that a dog is dangerous pursuant to the provisions of this act, in addition to any other penalty or liability provided in this act, the court may order the dog to be humanely put to death.
(5) If a court finds that a dog belonging to an owner is dangerous or at risk pursuant to the provisions of this act, the court in its discretion may order the owner to comply with one (1) or more of the following restrictions and requirements:
- When outdoors, the dog shall be confined to a secure, locked enclosure from which it cannot escape and that unauthorized persons are prevented from accidental entry, and for which entrance and exit are controlled by the owner of the premises or owner of the dog;
- When off the property of the owner and not confined in a secure enclosure the dog shall be kept on a secure leash by a competent adult physically capable of controlling the dog. The court shall have the discretion to order that the dog wear a muzzle capable of preventing the dog from biting if the dog is in any public area in which contact between the dog and the public is likely to occur;
- The dog shall be permanently identified by means of a color photograph in a file maintained by the court and by a microchip used for the identification of companion animals at the expense of the owner. Microchip registration shall be reported in a timely manner by the owner of the dog to the local agency responsible for the control of such dogs. Upon demand, the owner shall provide access to the dog to any such agency or local law enforcement entity for the purposes of verifying microchip implantation; and
- The premises on which the dog is kept shall be posted with clearly visible signs stating “Beware of Dog” and may also require posting of signs with a warning symbol that informs children of the presence of a dog that may be dangerous. Signs shall be visible from the closest roadway.
(6) Any owner of a dog designated as a dangerous or at-risk dog shall notify any local agency responsible for the control of such dogs upon the transfer of a dangerous or at-risk dog to another person within thirty (30) days of such transfer. In order to transfer ownership of a dog designated as a dangerous or at-risk dog, the current owner shall notify the new owner of any order issued by a court pursuant to the provisions of this act and provide a copy of such order prior to such transfer. All sanctions and restrictions placed upon the keeping of the dog by the court shall transfer to any person taking custody of such dog and such person shall comply with all such sanctions and restrictions and be duly registered as the owner of a dangerous or at-risk dog by the local agency. Any owner relocating a dangerous or at-risk dog to another jurisdiction served by a different agency responsible for the control of such dogs, shall notify both the previous agency and the responsible agency in the new location within thirty (30) days of such relocation.
(7) In the event a dog designated by a court as at risk does not subsequently act in a manner consistent with the definitions of a dangerous or at-risk dog, and providing that the owner and keeper of the dog has complied with all the provisions of this act, for a period of three (3) years, the restrictions and requirements imposed by the court shall be waived and the dog shall no longer be classified as at risk.
(8) Any person who fails to comply with sanctions, restrictions or requirements imposed by the court pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be subject to the provisions of section 25-2811, Idaho Code.
(9) During the pendency of a petition to have a dog declared dangerous or at risk, a law enforcement officer or officer of a local agency responsible for the control of such dogs shall be authorized to take the dog into custody and place the dog in a suitable place at a customary and reasonable expense to the owner pending final disposition of the charge against the owner. In lieu of keeping the dog at such facility, officers shall have the discretion to impose reasonable temporary restrictions upon the keeping of the dog at the property of the owner such that the dog is controlled and prevented from contact with others pending the final disposition of the petition. Upon notification that an action pursuant to this subsection has been initiated by an officer authorized to enforce such action against a dog, the relocation or transfer of such dog to another shall be prohibited and constitute a violation of this act.
(10) Any dog that physically attacks, wounds, bites or otherwise injures any person who is not trespassing, when such dog is not physically provoked or otherwise justified pursuant to subsection (3) of this section or as set forth in section 25-2808, Idaho Code, subjects either its owner or any person who has accepted responsibility as the possessor, harborer or custodian of the dog, or both, to civil liability for the injuries caused by the dog. A prior determination that a dog is dangerous or at-risk, or subject to any court order imposing restrictions or requirements pursuant to the provisions of this section, shall not be a prerequisite to civil liability for injuries caused by the dog.
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