You are not really a dog person and you tend to not associate with dog owners. But while you were visiting a friend who has a pet tarantula, you felt something furry on your hand and then a sharp pain. The tarantula was out and it bit you on the hand. You are rushed to the hospital where you are given anti-venom and you are saved. But what happens to the friend whose tarantula bit you?
Animal Bite Laws
In most states, the laws that people think refer to dog bites are actually called animal bite laws. In most situations, there are laws specific to dogs as it pertains to breeds and behavior, but most of those laws govern all pets. That means that the same laws that determine negligence in the event of a dog bite would also determine negligence in the case of your friend’s tarantula.
A pet owner is responsible for making sure their pet is properly cared for, vaccinated, and secured based on the pet’s needs. If you own a dog, then your backyard should have a fence that prevents your dog from leaving your yard. If you have a tarantula, then you should keep the spider in an aquarium for everyone’s safety.
Agitating an Animal
The one most common instance where a pet owner is not necessarily liable for the actions of their pet is when the pet is being agitated by another animal or a person. If someone keeps poking your dog with a stick through your fence while the dog is on a chain and the dog breaks the chain and jumps the fence to attack the person, then the owner might not be considered at fault. The same goes for a tarantula. If your guest let your spider out and was poking at it to get it to move, then the ensuing bite might not be considered your fault.
It is entirely possible that tarantulas and even some breeds of dog are not legal to have as pets where you live. If that is the case and your illegal pet bites someone, you could be facing a long list of charges and fines that would more than likely result in you losing your pet.
One of the big differences between owning a dog and most other types of pets is that dogs have to be registered with your local city hall. There are other types of pets that also need to be registered, but those laws can vary from state to state. As a universal rule, you should register your dog with the local city hall the moment your dog is old enough to be registered.
In general, dog bite laws apply to all types of legal pets. A pet owner is responsible for making sure the general public is safe from their pets, and the general public is responsible for not agitating animals and causing a biting situation.