This dog has injured people before. Does that count?

A: Connecticut has a statute (written law) about injuries caused by dogs — it holds the owner or keeper responsible for all bites, even if the dog has not hurt someone before.  But many of the “laws” we all follow are not statutes — they have never been voted on by members of our state legislature.  Instead, they are “laws” that have been with us for centuries, often based on principles of commonly accepted behavior and decency our forefathers agreed everyone should follow.  These are part of our “common law.”
According to Connecticut’s “common law,” a domestic animal’s owner or keeper can be responsible for all injuries the animal causes after it has already hurt someone.  In other words, once the owner or keeper knows his particular animal is dangerous, he has the obligation to take reasonable measures to be sure the animal never does it again.  If he does not take the reasonable measures, he has been negligent and can be held liable.
This “common law” rule applies to all sorts of domestic animals.  And even though our special statute makes it easier to hold dog owners and keepers accountable, the “common law” rule applies to dogs, too.

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