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Dog liability with no bite in MA?

A delivery guy for furniture came to my house last week and my dog got out of the bedroom and jumped up on the guy. I pulled my dog off before he was able to bite but the furniture guy fell over and banged his head on a table. He said it was OK and didn't start threatening to sue or anything but I was wondering if he could sue even though there was no bite. Thanks.

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I cannot say whether he would prevail if he did sue, but I can tell you, that under the Massachusetts dog bite and liability law, it does not matter if the dog actually bites anyone.  All that is required to create a cause of action and potential liability on the part of the dog's owner is that the dog injure a person or damage property.  Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, Section 155 states in relevant part:

If any dog shall do any damage to either the body or property of any person, the owner or keeper . . . shall be liable for such damage, unless such damage shall have been occasioned to the body or property of a person who, at the time such damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort, or was teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog.

As you can see, a bite is not required to trigger liability.  Any type of damage will do.  Hopefully the delivery guy is OK and/to decides to let the matter go.


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