11-1025. Liability for dog bites; military and police work; definitions

A. The owner of a dog that bites a person when the person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of its viciousness.

B. The breed of a dog may not be considered in findings of facts or conclusions of law entered by a court, administrative law judge, hearing officer, arbitrator or other legal decision-maker regarding whether a dog is aggressive or vicious or has created liability.

C. This section and section 11-1020 do not allow the bringing of an action for damages against any governmental agency using a dog in military or police work if the bite occurred while the dog was defending itself from a harassing or provoking act or assisting an employee of the agency in any of the following:

1. Apprehending or holding a suspect if the employee had a reasonable suspicion of the suspect's involvement in criminal activity.

2. Investigating a crime or possible crime.

3. Executing a warrant.

4. Defending a peace officer or another person.

D. Subsection C of this section does not apply in any case in which the victim of the bite was not a party to, nor a participant in, nor suspected to be a party to or a participant in, the act that prompted the use of the dog in the military or police work.

E. Subsection C of this section applies only if a governmental agency using a dog in military or police work has adopted a written policy on the necessary and appropriate use of a dog for the police or military work enumerated in subsection C of this section.

F. For the purposes of this section:

1. "Aggressive" means that a dog has bitten a person or domestic animal without provocation or has a known history of attacking persons or domestic animals without provocation.

2. "Breed" means the actual or perceived breed or mixture of breeds of a dog.

3. "Provocation" means tormenting, attacking or inciting a dog and includes the standard for determining provocation prescribed in section 11-1027.

4. "Vicious" means that a dog has a propensity to attack, to cause injury to or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings without provocation or has been found to have any of these traits after a hearing before a court of competent jurisdiction or before a hearing officer pursuant to section 11-1006.