Understanding Mississippi’s dog bite laws: What you need to know

Dogs are widely considered to be man’s best friend, but they are also capable of biting and causing injury to humans. In Mississippi, there are specific laws that govern dog bites and hold dog owners accountable for the actions of their pets. If you are a resident of Mississippi or are planning to visit the state, it is essential to understand the dog bite laws to protect yourself from potential harm.Understanding Mississippi's dog bite laws: What you need to know

Here’s what you need to know about Mississippi’s dog bite laws:

Strict Liability

Mississippi is a “strict liability” state, which means that dog owners are responsible for their pet’s behavior, regardless of whether they were aware of their pet’s aggressive tendencies. If a dog bites someone, the owner is automatically liable for any damages caused by the bite. It doesn’t matter if the dog had never shown any aggressive behavior before, the owner is still responsible.

Statute of Limitations

In Mississippi, there is a statute of limitations for dog bite cases. If you are bitten by a dog, you have three years from the date of the attack to file a claim. After this time, you may not be able to recover damages for your injuries.

Comparative Negligence

Mississippi also recognizes comparative negligence in dog bite cases. This means that if the victim’s actions contributed to the dog bite, their damages may be reduced in proportion to their level of fault. For example, if the victim was teasing the dog or provoking it, their damages may be reduced.


There are a few exceptions to Mississippi’s strict liability dog bite law. For example, if the victim was trespassing on the owner’s property or was committing a crime at the time of the attack, the owner may not be liable for damages. Additionally, if the victim was a veterinarian or animal control officer performing their job duties, they assume the risk of being bitten and cannot hold the owner liable.

Reporting Requirements

If a dog bites someone in Mississippi, the owner is required to report the incident to the local animal control officer or law enforcement agency within 24 hours. Failure to do so can result in fines or other penalties.

It is important to note that Mississippi’s dog bite laws only apply to bites. If a dog causes injury in another way, such as by knocking someone down, the owner may still be liable, but the laws are not as clear-cut. Therefore, it is essential to seek legal advice if you have been injured by a dog, even if it was not a bite.

It is also important to take steps to prevent dog bites from happening in the first place. Responsible pet ownership involves training and socializing dogs from an early age, as well as keeping them on a leash or in a fenced-in area when outside. Dog owners should also be aware of their pet’s body language and behavior to prevent potentially aggressive situations.

It is important to teach children about dog safety. They should be taught to always ask an owner’s permission before petting a dog and to avoid approaching unfamiliar dogs. They should also be taught to avoid teasing or provoking dogs and to never approach a dog while it is eating or sleeping.

Understanding Mississippi’s dog bite laws is important for both dog owners and potential victims. By being aware of the state’s strict liability law, statute of limitations, and reporting requirements, you can protect yourself and others from potential harm. Additionally, responsible pet ownership and educating children about dog safety can help prevent dog bites from occurring in the first place.

At Brad Morris Law Firm, PLLC, we are dedicated to helping individuals who have been injured by dog bites in Mississippi. With years of experience handling personal injury cases, we understand the intricacies of Mississippi’s dog bite laws and can provide the legal guidance you need.

If you have been bitten by a dog, we can help you understand your rights and legal options under Mississippi’s strict liability law. Our attorneys can guide you through the process of filing a claim and help you determine the appropriate damages to seek for your injuries.

As dog bite cases can be complex, we will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial impact of dog bites and will be there for you every step of the way.

If you are a dog owner, we can also assist you in understanding your legal responsibilities under Mississippi’s dog bite laws. Our attorneys can help you develop strategies to prevent dog bites from occurring and ensure that you comply with reporting requirements if a bite does occur.

At Brad Morris Law Firm, PLLC, we provide compassionate and personalized service to our clients. We understand that being injured by a dog bite can be a traumatic experience, and we will work tirelessly to help you recover physically, emotionally, and financially.

We are committed to providing valuable assistance to those who are seeking to understand Mississippi’s dog bite laws and seeking compensation for their injuries. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you.

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