Owning a dog is a dream for many canine lovers. Dogs offer people companionship, and may also protect them when the need arises. However, keeping a dog goes beyond friendship and feeding them. Dogs are animals, and, therefore, there are laws that clearly state how you should handle and take care of them.
For example, the Oklahoma animal laws were passed to protect the animals against cruelty and guide owners on the legal steps to take when handling animals.
The laws aren’t meant to be a yoke on people’s necks; rather, they exist to ensure a positive coexistence between animals and human beings. Remember, animals should also be treated with love and care.
Lessons For Dog Owners
Dog owners can take crucial lessons on how to get dogs, care for them, and handle legal proceedings involving their dogs or themselves. Here are some great lessons to learn from the Oklahoma animal laws:
1. Cases Of Dog Bites
The Oklahoma animal laws state that the dog owner will be liable for injuries caused by their dog if they bite someone under no provocation.
The dog bite laws state that the dog owner is only liable if the person was in the property by law or performing any duty stated by the law, such as meter reading, postal services deliveries, or doing repairs on the property.
Moreover, if a dog chases, injures, or kills another animal or livestock, the livestock owner can kill the dog if the damage is done on their property. The owners of the injured animal can also contract someone to kill the dog.
The owner of a dog that injures or kills livestock is responsible for covering all the damages caused by the dog. The damages include the extent of the injury and any legal fee incurred during the process. Moreover, any dog that’s considered dangerous can be seized by the animal control unit without any warranty requirement.
Therefore, dog owners should train their canines not to be aggressive to people and animals who aren’t dangerous to them or their properties.
Moreover, putting their dogs on a leash or using a muzzle can help avoid cases of dog bites and legal prosecution. It’s also unlawful for any dog owner whose dog has previously injured or killed a person to let their pet run at large.
2. Control Of Dogs Running At Large
Any county in Oklahoma with 200,000 people or more can prohibit dogs from running at large within the county. According to the law, if any dog is found running at large within the county, it can be impounded or disposed of. Examples of disposing include selling the dog to cover expenses of the impounding and the penalties.
Any dog owner who violates the regulations, as stated and passed by the board of county commissioners, will be found guilty and punished according to the county’s laws. Other subsequent offenses of the exact nature shall be treated as separate offenses.
To help control their dogs and avoid penalties, as constituted by the law, dog owners should erect a pen—which shouldn’t be less than 150 square feet for each dog confined there—for dogs aged more than six months, or the dog should be confined indoors. The enclosure should be high and strong enough to prevent the dog from escaping or children from entering the enclosure.
3. Registration Of Dangerous Dogs
While some dogs are non-aggressive, some aren’t and are categorized as dangerous dogs. In these instances, the Oklahoma animal laws state that owners of dangerous dogs should have a certificate of dog registration issued under the said section of the law. This law, however, doesn’t apply to law enforcement dogs.
Before a certificate is presented to the dog owner, the owner must provide evidence of a proper enclosure erected to keep the dog from the general public.
It should meet the required standards, such that the dog won’t be able to escape from it or children can’t get into it. The owner should also display a sign that warns children about the presence of a dangerous dog.
Moreover, dog owners should have liability insurance of not less than USD$50,000 issued by an insurer qualified under the Oklahoma statutes to insure the owner of any injury caused by the dangerous dog.
So, any dog owner should register any dangerous dog they keep. Often, the registration fee doesn’t exceed more than USD$10. Dog owners can also keep their dangerous dogs in an incorporated area serviced by the animal control authority and get a certificate.
4. Taking Up Of Estrays
An estray dog is a dog found running on public or private premises, and the owner of the dog is unknown. While it may be tempting to take over the possession of an estray dog, you should know that it’s unlawful to do so.
If the landowner takes up an estray, a proper investigation to find the dog’s owner should be done. The landowner is required by law to report to the country sheriff about taking up the dog. They should also give all the descriptions, such as the breed, sex, and approximate age of the animal.
If the dog owner is determined after the investigation, then the taker-up will provide all the information about the animal, which includes the costs of the taking-up or damages caused by the canine to the dog owner. The dog owner may be required to pay all those costs.
The taker-up will report to the sheriff if the dog owner isn’t known after the investigation or refuses to pay the cost.
If you’re the claimant, you should provide all the necessary information that you’re the dog’s actual owner, then you’ll pay all expenses, and the dog will be handed to you.
There are some cases where there’s more than one claimant. In such cases, the district court will hear testimonies to determine the owner of the dog.
If the dog owner fails to pay the taker-up for those expenses, then the dog will be sold. The money raised from the sale will cover the expenses, and the excess will be given to the dog owner.
During the taking-up of the estray dog, the taker-up will be required by law to care for and feed the dog. However, it’s unlawful to take up a dog, and, then, conceal it or not follow all the steps provided by the Oklahoma animal laws. A person who does this will be found guilty of larceny of domestic animals and shall be punished according to the law.
The Oklahoma animal laws can act as an excellent guide to dog owner’s on how to handle, treat, and care for their dogs to protect themselves, other people, and other animals.
These laws talk about handling dog bites and injuries, registration of dangerous dogs, taking up estrays, and several others, such as breeding. Studying these laws will help dog owners to understand important details about keeping dogs.