Just posting a sign might not provide Seattle dog owners the liability protection they hope for.

“Beware of Dog” Signs For Visitors: “Beware of Liability” Warnings For Owners

It can be a pretty common experience to walk up to a house and see the big black sign with bright red letters warning “Beware of Dog” posted on the front door. In fact, dog owners who happen to have larger, aggressive dogs frequently are looking to warn others that their pets are dangerous.

Sometimes, the sign is hung as a deterrent against intruders. Other times, the sign is posted as a warning for well-meaning visitors to watch themselves around the dog. And in some cases, the sign is posted simply as a means of eliminating liability if the dog attacks and bites. But simply posting the warning for everybody to see may not remove a dog owner’s liability if the canine attacks.

How effective is a “Beware of Dog” sign on the door?

Hanging up one of these signs might very well prevent some individuals from coming onto your property or getting too close to your dog. This warning sign should communicate to innocent individuals to keep a distance from your dog to avoid being jumped on or bitten.

If you are the one visiting someone’s house or apartment building and you happen to see one of these signs, take it seriously. Choosing to be cautious around an aggressive dog could prevent you from becoming its next chew toy. However, if a dog does attack, a posted sign may not offer the legal protection that the owner hopes for.

In Washington State, there are some pretty strict liability laws established regarding dog bites and attacks.

  • Liability in civil cases most commonly refers to an owner’s responsibility for a dog that bites an individual that is legally on a piece of property, whether public or private.
  • Choosing to post a “Beware of Dog” sign could actually prove to be an admission of knowledge concerning a dog’s aggressive nature.
  • To eliminate liability, dog owners must prove that the attack victim was illegally trespassing on the property.
  • The signs may serve as a warning to visitors not to provoke a vicious dog, but don’t remove owner responsibility in the event of an attack.

In the end, dog owners are ultimately responsible for any injuries their dogs cause. Even dogs that are trained to be guard dogs cannot legally bite or attack individuals without just cause (such as trespassing on private property).

At the Andrew Kim Law Firm, we have experience handling a wide range of dog bite injury cases, and understand the difficult aspects of trying such cases. But, no matter how difficult the case, we believe that dog owners should be held accountable for the injuries, pain, and suffering their canines cause to innocent victims. For more information about the dangers of aggressive dog bites and victim rights, continue browsing through the dog bites articles on this website.