Oklahoma Dog Bite Law: Can A Dog Owner Claim Self Defense?

In Oklahoma, a dog owner is strictly liable for any injuries caused by their animal. Strict liability means that intent and negligence are not relevant factors in the case. You will generally be held liable if your dog injures another party, even if you did not do anything wrong. But, there are also a few defenses available to dog owners. These defenses can potentially be used to avoid liability. If your dog has injured someone, or a dog owner is asserting self-defense in your dog bite injury case, you should contact an experienced Tulsa dog bite lawyer for immediate legal assistance.

Dog Bite Defenses: Trespassing and Provocation

Fundamentally, Oklahoma’s dog bite statute tries to protect innocent victims. It gives victims of a dog attack an avenue to recover fair compensation for their injuries. But, the law denies recovery for an injured party if they are deemed at fault their own injuries. The two defenses available to dog owners are:


  • Provocation: Under Oklahoma law, provocation includes abuse of a dog, teasing of a dog, and any other action that would be likely to incite an attack from an animal with a normal temperament. State courts will look to the actions of the injured party, and determine if a reasonable person would have judged those actions as being likely to have incited a dog attack. If the injured party is found to have provoked the animal, then that party may not recover any compensation for the injuries.
  • Trespassing: You may not recover for dog bite injuries if you were found to be trespassing under Oklahoma law. In many cases, this is not an issue. If the bite occurred while the person was on the property as an invited guest, or it occurred while the person was on public property, then clearly trespassing is not a valid defense. On the flip side, a home invader may not bring a dog bite claim if they are injured while attempting to rob a house. However, there are some cases where the issue becomes more complicated. For example, what happens when someone is briefly crossing onto property and is injured by a dog bite? In that circumstance, the dog owner can sometimes be held liable. If trespassing as a defense is a potential issue in your dog bite case, you should speak to an experienced Tulsa dog bite lawyer immediately.

Contact An Experienced Oklahoma Dog Bite Lawyer

If you have been injured by a dog bite, or if you are a dog owner, it is vital that understand how Oklahoma dog bite defenses work. Blake Hayes is an experienced dog bite lawyer who can help you figure out how to proceed in your individual case. Please contact him online or at (918) 392-4641 if you have any questions about Oklahoma dog bite injuries.