Voting to Minimize Liability for Dangerous Animals

While your "best friend" may be your dog, and most dogs never bite, most property insurance companies have their own view of dogs and how they can create liability.

Insurance companies understand that owners of dogs in California, have strict liability for any harm caused by their dog should it bite someone. In short, if a dog injures someone, liability is not at issue. The dog owner is liable. The only issue becomes the amount of damages calculated in dollars.

When the owner of a dog that bites or attacks someone lives in a common interest development, the attorney representing the plaintiff will usually include the HOA as a defendant claiming the association:

  • Knew of the propensity of the dog to bite or attack;
  • Should have known of the propensity of the dog to bite or attack;
  • Failed to enforce reasonable rules that would have prevented the dog bite or attack, and/or
  • Had a duty to maintain reasonably safe premises at all times.

In short, when a dog owned by a resident (owner or renter) injures someone, the homeowner association is usually named as a defendant. Every insurance company is aware of this fact.

Many homeowner associations are amending their CC&Rs to prohibit owners and renters from bringing certain breeds of dogs, or dogs over a certain weight, into the association.

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