Why Employing Dogs for Home Security Poses Legal Risks

By Alberto Roy

Published on:

“Beware of dogs!”

 “Guard dog on duty!”

You’ve probably seen these signs on gates, especially in residential areas, right?

Well, these are common signs used by security dog owners to warn passersby and visitors of the potential threat, or perhaps to discourage burglars from entering their premises. And it works, at least most of the time because dogs are territorial and naturally protective.

So, if you want some extra pairs of eyes to watch over your property, you might want to consider getting yourself a security dog. But before you do, it’s important to understand some legal aspects of having a security dog in your home.

This post discusses the potential legal risks of employing dogs for home security as well as insights into navigating these challenges. If you’re a dog owner or perhaps thinking of having one, this is worth a read.

What are the legal risks of employing dogs for home security?

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Dogs, specifically guard dogs, are great for home security. But, they also come with some legal risks. 

But what are these legal risks? Here are some of the issues you might be dealing with should you choose to employ dogs for home security.

Liability for dog bites

Dogs are naturally protective, and may bite anyone who tries to enter your home, including your welcome visitors, the mailman, delivery drivers, and of course burglars and other unwelcome visitors. 

If a burglar is injured by your canine friend, they probably deserve it and you won’t be liable.

But this may not always be the case. Your dog can also bite a passerby who had no intention of entering your home, especially if you do not have a fenced home. In this case, you’ll be liable for the injuries caused by your furry friend. 

You could also be liable if your dog bites a person who is lawfully on your property, for instance, a police officer, process server, or emergency worker.

However, laws surrounding dog bites vary between jurisdictions. Therefore, it’s important to understand the dog bite laws in your region before employing dogs for home security.

Legal restrictions

Some jurisdictions have specific laws and regulations regarding the use of dogs for security purposes. 

For instance, in New York, if your dog is four months or older, you must get a license for it. This means you could face fines and other penalties if you fail to register or license your dog. You can apply for your dog’s license in NY at your local town or municipal office.

Licensing ensures that your furry friend is properly trained and vaccinated. Trained dogs are easier to handle and less likely to harm people, unless provoked, than their untrained counterparts.

Additionally, if you’re looking to employ your dog for home security, your state might require you to take your canine friend through a specific type of training program. The training is meant to equip your dog with the capability of performing its duties effectively and safely. Some of the special training that may be required for security dogs include;

  • Obedience training
  • Socializing
  • Specialized training related to security work

Noise complaints

Some dogs can really bark. Loud enough to scare away trespassers or anyone trying to enter your home uninvited. The noise gets louder at night.

While you might enjoy the loud bark your furry friend produces, your neighbors may not be in agreement. They’ll start with verbal complaints and before you know it, you’re being summoned by your local authorities.

You could be fined or face other legal consequences under local noise ordinances. Sometimes, you might be forced to either rehome your furry friend—this is a tough one for any dog lovers.

Ideally, there’s no way you’re going to stop a dog from barking. It’s something natural. But, you can train your dog to minimize the barking or to only bark under specific circumstances.

However, you must be aware of the restrictions your state has regarding noise.

Trespassing risks

Your dog will do everything to protect you and your property and this is a good thing for your home’s security.

However, sometimes dogs can be overprotective. This means they’ll try to attack anyone who is close to your property. And this mostly affects those who live near busy roads or in busy neighborhoods. For instance, your dog may bark or try to attack your neighbors or their visitors.

Also, this  may pose a threat to anyone walking past your gate, even when they have no intentions or interest in your property.

How can you mitigate these risks?

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Employing dogs for home security is not a bad idea. Yes, there are legal risks. But there are ways you can mitigate the risks and enjoy the protection from your canine friend.

If a dog is protecting your home, here are some precautions that can help you prevent legal risks.

  • Proper training: Ensure your dog can distinguish between threats and non-threats. Adequate and proper training can help you achieve this.
  • Secure enclosures: Ensure you have secure enclosures for your dog to prevent accidental escapes or unauthorized access. These are essential, especially during the day when they are not actively patrolling.
  • Insurance: Obtain liability insurance to protect yourself in case of a lawsuit stemming from a dog bite or attack. Note that some insurance companies do not insure some breeds of dogs due to their aggressiveness.
  • Know the law: You must understand local laws and regulations regarding the use of dogs for security purposes. Comply with those laws to avoid legal risks.

Final thoughts

Dogs can be good for security at home. But, they can pose legal risks including liability for dog bites and noise complaints.So, if you’re thinking of employing dogs for home security, it’s important to understand the legal aspects and comply with relevant regulations. 

You can get in touch with a personal injury lawyer to help you understand the possible liabilities of having dogs guard your home. Otherwise, ensure your dog is well-trained, licensed, and vaccinated. This will help minimize legal risks.

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