IBP Corner: Liability

Dear IBP,

Gusto po lang sana humingi ng payo sa inyo. Last week po kasi yung anak ng kapitbahay naming inutusan ng nanay nya na humingi ng malunggay sa bakuran namin. Nagkataon po na pagpasok niya sa gate naming ay nakawala naman ang aso namin sa kulungan dahil na putol ang kanyang kadena at nakagat po yun bata. May pananagutan po ako bilang may-ari ng aso?

Dear Anonymous Sender,

Yes, you have a liability to child that was bitten by your dog.

According to Article 2183 of Civil Code of the Philippines, “The possessor of an animal or whoever may make use of the same is responsible for the damage which it may cause, although it may escape or be lost. This responsibility shall cease only in case the damage should come from force majeure or from the fault of the person who has suffered damage.”

It is clear from the above, that as a general rule, a owner of the dog has a liability to the person harmed by their pets, the only exception is that if found that there was no fault or negligence on their part and that the reason why the child was bitten was beyond his or her control. Hence, to escape the liability you have to prove that you exercised due diligence or that the child was at fault why he or she was bitten.

Under Republic Act No. 9482, otherwise known as the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007, the pet owner has the following responsibilities when his pet dog bites another, (1) Within twenty-four (24) hours, report immediately any Dog biting incident to the Concerned Officials (barangay officials, health workers, police officers or government veterinarians) for investigation or for any appropriate action and place such Dog under observation by a government or private veterinarian. (2) Assist the Dog bite victim immediately and shoulder the medical expenses incurred and other incidental expenses relative to the victim’s injuries.

In addition, animal owners who refuse to have their animals put under observation after said animal has bitten an individual shall be penalized with a fine of Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00). In addition, animal owners who refuse to have their animal put under observation and do not shoulder the medical expenses of the person bitten by their animal shall be penalized a fine of Twenty-five thousand pesos (P25,000.00). These fines are in addition to actual damages sustained by the victim as a result of the animal bite.

Getting a pet is not limited to feeding and bathing, this includes the responsibility of making sure that they do not harm others around you. Also, we should always make sure that our pets are vaccinated with anti-rabies to make sure that in the event that our pet harms others, the liability will much smaller and it will save the life of the person that was harmed.

I hope we were able to answer your questions and we were able to enlighten you with the steps that you have to take.


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