Dog handlers are some of the few excluded from the strict liability dog bite law. This is due to the veterinarian rule, also known as the “assumption-of-risk” defense. This refers to veterinarians, vet technicians, groomers, and the dog handlers’ awareness of getting bitten due to their profession..

A dog handler who was bitten on the job cannot sue because he or she voluntarily chose to work with dogs and accepted the risks that come with the job. Getting bitten is simply an occupational hazard.

However, there are still conditions where the dog handler who was attacked can still file a lawsuit against the dog owner. The owner will still be liable for injuries if he or she knowingly concealed information or a particular hazard regarding their dog. This may include a vicious temper, a history of violence or biting, or if the dog has been deemed dangerous. Since this rule varies per state, it is best to consult a local attorney on this matter.

The dog handler may also recover a claim for damages if the dog attacked while it was still under the physical control of the owner. The Veterinarian’s Rule also won’t apply if the owner failed to inform the dog handler that the dog might bite.

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