Is it mandatory to have a dog warning sign?

It is not mandatory to display a sign to warn of the presence of a dog at home, but it is still strongly recommended.

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But is this sign mandatory? Does it protect the master in case of a bite or other damage?

Advice rather than an obligation

It is not mandatory to display a sign to warn of the presence of a dog at home, but it is still strongly recommended. Because article 1385 of the Civil Code indicates that the owner of an animal (or the person who keeps it at the time of the facts) is responsible for the damage that the animal causes. If a person is bitten, the lack of warning can work in their favor. But this does not mean that a sign can exempt a master from all liability.He remains responsible for his animal despite the warning.

But not all situations follow this rule. If a person enters someone's home uninvited (and all access is closed), the handler's liability is completely dismissed if he succeeds in proving that his dog reacted in an unusual way to this intrusion (bite , torn clothes, assault).

Panel differences

A "Beware of dog" and "Beware of dangerous dog" signs do not have the same values. Indeed, posted on the gate of a house or on the gates of a warehouse, the sign "beware dangerous dog" (or bad dog) will have a much greater deterrent power. This clearly indicates to a person who enters this place that they are taking risks. But this “Caution naughty dog” sign also suggests that the dog can be aggressive and dangerous. This is why a “Beware of Dog” sign is preferable.The warning is better perceived than the threat.

It is possible to personalize a "Beware of dog" sign by displaying the animal's head, especially if it is a category 1 or 2 dog, considered "dangerous" . Again, this is not required but is recommended. To be more efficient, the panel must be clearly visible.

What to do in case of problem?

If a person is bitten, they can seek compensation for the damage. Because the owner is held responsible for bodily injury, wounds, bites and damage caused by his animal. He will be able to operate his civil liability insurance in order to compensate the victim. This is also mandatory for category 1 and 2 dogs. Some animal he alth insurance may also intervene.

Beware if the master incites his dog to bite or attack, even in the event of a home invasion, this is considered voluntary aggression because the dog is used as a weapon. And it is punishable by the Penal Code.

Court decisions

A decision of the Paris Court of Appeal of April 29, 1981 sets precedent. She specifies that, if many signs warn of the presence of a dog in the home, and a person enters it anyway and is bitten or attacked, the master will not be held responsible.

A decision of the Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence of October 9, 1986 completes this decision. It specifies that if a person is invited by the master to enter his home, the latter cannot be exonerated from all responsibility.

An example of a dispute

Despite the presence of a sign "I stand guard" on which was displayed a large dog on the fence of a warehouse, a person entered this place outside opening hours. She then continued on her way to the private courtyard of a house stuck to the warehouse while a new sign "Beware of the dog" was present on the gate.A smaller sign on which was written the words "private" with a forbidden entry was also displayed.

The person who entered the warehouse was bitten and demanded compensation for his damage. The Court of Appeal had ruled in favor of the owner who invoked an unforeseeable and irresistible fault on the part of the victim since she had not taken into account the various warnings and had entered without ringing the bell since the gate was closed.

The Court of Cassation had a completely different opinion since it had considered that the behavior of the victim did not present an unforeseeable and irresistible fault for the owner of the dog. He was therefore responsible for the damage.

The presence of a warning sign such as "Beware of the dog" does not excuse the owner of the animal in the event of aggression or bite. On the other hand, it remains strongly recommended and better appreciated than a sign that may imply that the dog is dangerous.

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