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Ask any pet owner, and they will tell you how their fur baby brings insurmountable joy to their home. Pets provide love and companionship, as well as many additional mental health benefits.

That said, pet ownership does come with risk and responsibilities. It’s important to be educated about potential liabilities pets bring, so you and your furry friend can stay safe.


Rental and Lease Agreements


Considering adding a dog or cat to your family? If you are renting a property, check your lease agreement to ensure pets are permitted. Courts often allow landlords to evict a tenant who violates a no-pet policy. In many cases, rental properties will limit pets to certain sizes and breeds. It’s always best to reach out to your landlord if you have any questions.


License and Vaccinations


When you purchase or adopt a dog, cat or ferret in the state of Minnesota, your first action should be to register them with the city in which you live. Pet licenses are required by law and offer many benefits. Registered pets who are found without their owners are more likely to be brought back home verses an animal shelter. It is also easier to find a registered pet’s past medical records if they are found injured or sick.


Additionally, be sure to keep up-to-date on your pet’s vaccinations with their veterinarian, especially for rabies. Vaccinations keep your pet safe and healthy. If your pet bites someone and doesn’t have a current rabies vaccination and isn’t registered with the city, your troubles could multiply.


Dog Bites


If your dog bites or injures someone, you could be on the legal (and financial) hook for lawsuits and potentially serious medical bills. Even worse, the victim or police could demand your family pet be euthanized. Educate yourself on Minnesota’s dog bite statute to learn about your liability if your pet causes injury. Keep your dog on a leash when outside your home and take precautions.


Homeowners and Renters Insurance


It’s important to notify your insurance company about your new pets. Before you adopt or purchase a pet for your family, check with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to see if they have any restrictions. Some insurance providers either don’t cover incidents caused by specific breeds, or they may charge premiums to cover them.


Speak to an Attorney


Before you bring a new pet into the family, be sure to do your due diligence to learn about potential pet liabilities.

If there has been an incident involving a pet, the attorneys at Meshbesher & Spence will be happy to provide a free consultation and assess your situation.