Were you or your child recently bit by a dog? Did the bite require costly medical treatment and even time away from school or work? If so, you may be seeking compensation for your expenses. The dog's owner is likely to be the liable party. That's not always the case, though. There are some instances where other people are liable either instead of or in addition to the owner. Here are four non-owners who could be liable, depending on the circumstances:

Property owner.

What if the dog was loose and bit you or your child on a neighbor's property? In this case, both the owner and the neighbor could be liable. If the owner wasn't around, he or she could still be liable for not keeping the dog contained. Also, the neighbor could be liable if he or she knew the dog was on the property but did not make an effort to remove it. If it can be determined that the property owner allowed the dog onto the property, then he or she could have some liability for its actions while on the property.

Family member.

This is usually relevant when the dog's owner is under the age of 18. A minor can't be held financially liable for a dog's actions. Instead. you and your injury attorney will need to determine who the dog's keeper is. This is an adult who, for all intensive purposes, cares for the dog. Usually, it's the child's parents, as they're the ones who house and feed the dog. However, if the dog spends time at the home of a grandparent or other family member, it's possible that they could be liable.

Non-owner keeper.

This often applies when a person is watching a dog that doesn't belong to them for a short period of time. For example, an owner may drop a dog off with a friend while the owner is on vacation. In this case, the friend becomes the dog's keeper during that period of time and can be held responsible for the dog's actions. This could also apply to professional dog walkers, babysitters, and anyone else who has been given responsibility for the dog while the owner is away.


A business isn't a person, but you can still hold a business responsible for a dog bite. If the management knew the dog was on the property and didn't take steps to manage it or remove it, they can be held responsible. For example, assume a dog is tied up to a sign outside a grocery store. The dog bites you or your child. If the store was aware of the dog's presence, you may be able to pursue compensation from them.

Talk to your injury lawyer at places like Breslin & Breslin/lawyers about the specifics surrounding the incident. They can identify the parties who may be liable and then start the litigation process.