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Dog bites are a public safety issue that can result in serious injury to the bitten and in some cases the bite may be fatal. It is the responsibility of a dog’s owner to train and care for their animal to decrease the chances that the dog will be involved in a serious or fatal attack. When the animal’s owner has failed to properly train their dog, the dog’s owner is responsible for the dog’s behavior.

A victim of a dog bite in North Carolina has legal options that will allow you to be compensated after an attack. If you have been attacked by a dog, an experienced Winston-Salem dog bite lawyer will work with you so that you understand your rights.

North Carolina Dog Statutes

Dog owners are prohibited from allowing their dog, who is older than six months old, to run free at night if the animal is not accompanied by the owner or someone with permission to accompany the animal.

North Carolina defines a dangerous dog as one that has killed or inflicted serious injury on a person without provocation. A dog that has previously bitten a person causing significant damage, killed or seriously injured another animal that was not on the dog’s owner’s property, or previously approached someone, who was not on the dog’s owner’s property, in a terrorizing manner also constitutes a dangerous dog.

Forsyth County also has animal control ordinances that pet owners are obligated to comply with inside the county.


The victim of a dog bite may recover compensatory damages, which are awarded to compensate the injured for losses that were caused by the injury, if the owner was negligent or negligent per se. In a dog bite case, negligence is the failure to take ordinary care, which resulted in the dog injuring someone. This may be the case when a pet owner allows a pet to roam, during the day, without an escort.

Negligence per se is when a pet owner violates a law or animal control ordinance. In Forsyth County, pets are required to be on a leash in parks; in Winston-Salem, if you are bitten by a dog who was not leashed, the pet owner has been negligent per se.

A dog owner has strict liability for an animal deemed a dangerous dog. Strict liability provides that the person that suffered the dog bite would only have to establish that they were bitten and that it was by the specific dog that has been deemed a dangerous dog. If that can be established, the owner is liable for the victim’s injury.

One Bite Rule

North Carolina has a one bite rule. Under the one bite rule, if a domestic animal has a penchant for violence and the owner is aware of that, the owner will be liable to the person injured by that pet. If your neighbor’s dog has attempted to bite you in the past and you notified the owner of that, the owner is responsible if the dog subsequently bites you. Under the one bite rule, a dog’s owner is responsible for every person that their dog bites, including the first one.

For more information on what to do if you suffered a dog bite, contact a Winston-Salem dog bite attorney.