This article is for those who have any kind of pet at home, whether that be a huge dog, or small puppy. Usually, most cases relating to pets involve dogs.
The law considers every dog as “potentially dangerous” (some of them are not allowed to be raised at home). Therefore, the law transfers to the pet’s owner any liability for any damages caused by such animals, except in two cases.
The law in Israel considers the pet owner or even the person who had the pet under their custody (for example, the neighbor who walked the dog next door) as solely liable for the animal.
It is possible to appeal against this type of responsibility (“Ahraiut Kpida” or “Muhletet”) in only two specific cases, as previously mentioned. The first case happens when, before the assault, the person assaulted by the dog attacked or abused the animal in any way. Obviously, it is up to the dog’s owner to prove to the competent authorities (police, court and health ministry) that this was the case. The second case is when the person assaulted enters the dog owner’s “territory” without their permission.
Whenever walking a dangerous dog, the dog owner must keep the animal’s mouth covered with a muzzle as required by law. The person attacked doesn’t have to prove anything except to identify which dog attacked them and what the damages were: physical, mental or moral.
If the animal barks and a passerby jumps out of fear and falls down, it is up to the dog’s owner to pay for any damage caused. If the animal “escapes” from the hands of the person who is watching it and attacks someone else, the animal’s owner is solely liable for the incident.
I have handled several cases like these and rarely can an animal owner “win” a case in the courts. In addition, the amount paid for a pet’s attack starts at 2,000 Shekels and may reach astronomical amounts: there was a case where the animal’s owner had to pay 250,000 Shekels.
Among the obligations of the animal’s owner, are:
- the obligation to vaccinate the animal,
- the obligation to give the animal enough room (today, there is a law establishing how many meters the leash must be and what size its house should be),
- obligations set by the municipality,
- cleaning duties (if the animal dirties public places),
- obligations to the neighbors (for example, if a dog barks all day or all night and disturbs the neighbors). In this case, the animal’s owner will be held responsible for damages and will be forced to move the animal.
This is aside from other “COMPLETE” obligations that aim to protect the animal and everyone that may have any type of contact with it.
The law provides not only for civil penalties for the acts of pets, but also criminal responsibility.
Any person attacked by a dog or by any other pet should immediately go to an emergency room, Kupat Holim or straight to the nearest hospital in order for them to be treated and for their situation to be evaluated.
After being treated, depending on the case, the person should look for a lawyer. The animal’s owner must immediately seek legal assistance if their pet attacks a stranger.
In short, remember that the laws have changed in the last few years and especially now, with the “TSAR BAALEI HAIIM” law in effect, if you own a dog, you must be prepared to prevent future damage to you and to everyone that may have contact with the animal.