Can You Sue an Animal Shelter if an Adopted Dog Attacks? | Scott Goodwin Law

Can You Sue an Animal Shelter if an Adopted Dog Attacks?

by / Monday, 23 May 2022 / Published in Dog Bites
An angry dog pushes away at a person's hands.

When you decide to welcome a new pet into the family, visiting a local animal shelter or rescue organization can be a wonderful idea. For many families, a shelter or rescue dog has gone on to become a very beloved part of their households. 

However, it’s extremely important to remember one key thing: any dog can potentially bite or attack. It doesn’t matter what size the dog is or what breed it is. And adopting through an animal shelter or rescue organization also means that the people you adopt from very likely don’t know an animal’s full behavioral history. And dogs who have spent time in hectic settings like shelters or have recently gone through difficult situations may be feeling stressed and fearful of people or new situations, which could make them more prone to attacking. So if a shelter/rescue dog bites someone, could the shelter/rescue group ever be held liable for those injuries?

If someone is bitten or attacked by a dog while on the premises of an animal shelter or rescue group, they should have insurance to cover any injuries caused by dogs in their care. But just because an organization should have insurance for those types of situations doesn’t necessarily mean that they will. In the case of smaller organizations, they may not have the budget for insurance in which case you may need to consider a personal injury lawsuit to recover losses like medical bills, time missed from work, and pain and suffering. 

It’s also important to question whether or not the shelter or rescue group accurately described the dog’s behavioral tendencies prior to adoption. As previously mentioned, it’s not always easy or possible for shelter/rescue workers to have a full picture of a dog’s overall disposition. But in some cases, a shelter may have knowingly played down a dog’s aggressive tendencies or even failed to mention it to a family considering adopting the dog. In a case like that, there may be grounds for legal action against the organization that adopted the dog out. 

Contact a Michigan Dog Bite Lawyer

If you’ve been bitten by a dog from a rescue or animal shelter, don’t hesitate to contact a dog bite lawyer for help. It’s important to have someone on your side who understands the law and how it applies to your unique situation. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to get help from a lawyer experienced in helping the victims of Michigan dog attacks. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your case.