My neighbor says his dog has never attacked anyone before biting my child. Is that a defense?

Minnesota personal injury attorney James Heuer talks about the defense that a dog has never attacked anyone before and whether or not it proves valid in the court of law.

Contact James Heuer

Phone: (612) 333-3160


In Minnesota, the owner of the dog is strictly liable for the actions of the dog unless the dog is provoked. Back in the day when I went to law school in an urban area that was true but out in a farm area they used to got what we called the one bite rule. So it used to be able if the dog had no history of bites you would have to show that the people had to know that dog had some vicious propensities. Now statewide it is the owner of the dog who is liable for the damages and we’ve had several cases where people just unbeknownst, you know the dog just bit the face. And some of them were kind of mean dogs to start with but that’s not a defense to say my dog never bit anyone before.