A leashed dog sits on a sidewalk. The dog's owner stands next to it holding the leash.

What to Know About Michigan Leash Law and Dog Bite Law

Is There a Leash Law for Dogs in Michigan? 

Michigan law requires that dogs be leashed. Not only does Michigan Law hold a dog owner strictly liable for a dog bite by an unleashed dog, Michigan Law also holds a dog owner liable for an attack caused by an unleashed dog.

According to the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association, there are more than 2 million dogs in Michigan, and over one third of all households have at least one dog. In 2018, Michigan ranked 7th in the nation for the highest number of dog bites.  

Understanding Michigan Leash Laws

Michigan leash laws require that dogs that be leashed at all times when off their owner’s premise.  A dog bite or attack victim may be entitled to a rebuttable presumption of negligence when a dog owner allows a dog off leash in violation of MCL 287.262.

Why Leash Laws Are Important

Michigan dog leash laws exist to ensure that everyone stays safe in public. One of the main safety risks involving dogs is bites. This can happen to people or other dogs, and leashes help mitigate this risk. Any legal action after a dog bite will also be influenced by whether or not the attacking dog was leashed.

What Is the Dog Bite Law in Michigan?

Even with leash laws in place, Michiganders still get bitten. MCL 287.351, Michigan’s strict-liability dog-bite statute, places absolute liability on a dog owner for a dog bite, except when a dog is intentionally or unintentionally provoked. If an unprovoked dog bite occurs on “public property, or lawfully on private property, including the property of the owner of the dog” then the dog’s owner is liable.

Michigan Courts have defined provocation as the act of provoking or something that provokes by inciting, instigating, angering, or irritating. Unintentional provocation occurs when an act that is directed at a dog elicits a proportional response. There is no provocation if the dog’s response is disproportionate

What Can I Do If an Unleashed Dog Bit Me?

Dog bites in Michigan accounted for around $27 million in personal payouts in 2018. Because dog bites can lead to serious injuries and medical expenses, it is important to report your incident as soon as possible to both the police and animal control. Filing a police report will help you move forward with a personal injury case against the liable dog owner.

A dog bite claim is usually defended by a dog owner’s homeowners or renters’ insurance. If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, it is important to contact an attorney immediately so a claim can be opened and the investigation process can be initiated.

We’re Here to Help You Understand Michigan’s Leash Laws

If you or someone you know has been attacked or bitten by a dog it is important that you seek out an experienced attorney to help you pursue the damages you deserve. Dingeman & Dancer’s experienced team has been reaching settlements and obtaining verdicts for more than 35 years.

If you think you have a dog bite personal injury case, request a consultation online or call 800-626-0050 today. When you call us, you get us.