Who is liable if a dog bites you at a dog park in Virginia?

Liability for a dog bite at a VA dog park Dog parks are popular in Norfolk and Virginia Beach and allow dogs to roam and interact with other canines freely without the constraints of a leash. However, dog attacks can occur at a dog park, severely injuring victims. 

If a dog has bitten you at a dog park, it is crucial to seek legal assistance from an experienced Norfolk premises liability lawyer at Tavss Fletcher. We can help you prove the owner’s or dog handler’s liability to compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity damages, and pain and suffering.

Liability for a Dog Bite at a Norfolk Dog Park

Determining liability in a dog bite case at a dog park can be complex because dog owners use the park knowing that other people’s dogs will not be on a leash. Therefore, the park owner may not face liability if someone at the park is injured due to a dog attack.

However, the dog’s owner or handler may be responsible for compensating a victim, although liability may be harder to prove than if the dog bit the individual at another location. They may be liable if a victim can establish liability under one of these Virginia laws:

Virginia’s Dog Bite Law 

Under Virginia dog bite law, a dog owner might be liable for injuries caused by their dog biting another person at a dog park if the victim can show that the owner knew or should have known their dog was dangerous or vicious. Victims can prove this if they have evidence that the dog bit someone in the past or engaged in dangerous behavior, such as jumping on people.


A dog owner and handler have a duty to exercise reasonable care to control and restrain a dog they take to a dog park. If they failed to supervise their dog in the park properly or did not take appropriate precautions to prevent an attack, they may be liable for negligence if their dog bites someone.

Negligence Per Se 

In some cases, negligence per se may also apply. Negligence per se arises when a person violates a specific law or regulation enacted to protect individuals from a particular harm. If the owner violated a local ordinance or rule applicable to dog parks, and this violation directly contributed to a dog bite injury, they may be held liable under negligence per se.