If you have a pet read this

A myriad of scientific studies indicate that people may improve their likelihood of experiencing better general health by owning a pet. Some studies even suggest people can decrease their stress levels and blood pressure just by owning a pet.

But what if you own a mischievous pet – will these health benefits also ensue?

There is an inherent risk owning a mischievous pet, for example a savage dog. If the dog bites, the owner may be at risk of a negligence claim if the owner was aware that the dog’s behaviour was inclined to be vicious. It appears unlikely that such a risk would improve your health – so how can you minimise the stress of owning a mischievous dog?

You can decrease the likelihood of your dog attacking by keeping your dog within the fencing confines of your property. However, if your dog does bite a person within the confines of your property, this will not necessarily prevent the injured person from bringing a negligence claim. Therefore, you need to take extra care if you have visitors to your residence, especially children or people unfamiliar with the nature of the dog. In addition to securely enclosing your pet on your property, you should also consider the following measures to minimise the risk of your mischievous pet:

  1. erect adequate and visible warning signs showing that a savage dog resides at your premises;
  2. verbally warn entrants to your premises of the nature of your dog’s temperament;
  3. ensure children are adequately supervised on your property;
  4. for young children, ensure access from your house to the dog’s enclosure is blocked (for example, lock doors).

Walking your dog may help your fitness and hence your general health, but a mischievous dog on an outing outside your property is a risk. To minimise the risk, keep your dog on a leash, avoid crowded places and if necessary, you may consider a muzzle.

Please note, that if your dog has been declared dangerous, menacing or restricted in Queensland by your local government authority, then the management of your dog will be regulated by the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008.

It is recommended you check your public liability insurance to ensure your policy will adequately cover animal liability. Otherwise, you risk being sued personally for any negligence claim involving your dog.

Keep your mischievous pet under sufficient control and ensure you have adequate public liability insurance – so you will be on the way to enjoying the health benefits of owning your pet.

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