Massachusetts Dog Bite Statute

Under M.G.L. c. 140 § 155, the Massachusetts Dog Bite Statute, dog owners are held to a standard of strict liability for their dog’s attack unless, at the time of the attack, the victim was trespassing or committing another tort, or teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog. In addition, if the victim was under seven years of age, the law creates a rebuttable presumption that any such child was not trespassing or committing another tort, or teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog.

The Massachusetts Dog Bite Statute covers any damage to either the body or property of any person. This means that damages can be recovered by an injured person for reasons other than just a dog bite. For instance, a large dog jumps on an elderly neighbor and the neighbor suffered damages from the fall then the damages sustained from the fall can be recovered against the owner of the dog. Additionally, not only is an owner of the dog liable for injuries his or her dog causes but also “keepers” of the dog are liable. Therefore, a dogwalker or veterinarian who has control over the dog at the time of the injury can be held responsible for the dog’s actions.

It is important to note that there is no requirement for an injured person to show negligence on the part of the dog owner or keeper; however, the injured person can pursue a claim based on a negligence theory.

When an individual is injured by a dog, damages can manifest themselves in many forms, including, but not limited to:

  • Medical bills;
  • Lost wages;
  • Emotional distress, to include pain and suffering;
  • Therapy and counseling services; and/or
  • Plastic surgery.

If you are hurt as a result of a dog bite or attack, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Advocates Legal Group, LLP can help you determine the value of your claim and can bring the appropriate action for recovery. We will help you prepare your case in a way that demonstrates the other side is responsible for your injuries and other losses. We can also help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case and build a strategy to ensure the most successful outcome possible. Although recovery can be stressful, you do not need to go at it alone. We will be on your side every step of the way to advise you of your rights, options, and navigate you through the process. Call us now at (508) 796-5737, or email us at, for a free case evaluation.

This website is for informational purposes only. Using this site or communicating with Advocates Legal Group, LLP, or any of their appointed associates through this site does not form an attorney-client relationship. This site is legal advertising. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. We invite you to contact our office and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail. Contacting this office does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established. Advocates Legal Group, LLP, does not intend to hold themselves out as an expert or specializing in any particular field or fields or law, but rather as welcoming or focusing on matters related to specific practice areas. Advocates Legal Group, LLP, does not and cannot guarantee any specific results.