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Dog bites man in the Beijing Morning Post

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Beijing Morning Post, June 29, 2010

China's new Tort Liability Law (侵权责任法), which takes effect on July 1, contains provisions concerning animal attacks.

According to the Civil Law currently in effect, a pet's owner or minder is responsible for any injuries caused by the animal, unless it was the fault of a third party.

In the Tort Liability Law, which devotes an entire article to animal attacks and divides them into several categories, an animal's owner or minder is responsible for injuries caused by negligence, regardless of whether or not the victim's actions caused the attack.

The Beijing Morning Post spoke with Zhang Meng, a judge at the First Intermediate Court:

If the animal has been properly registered but a third party is harmed because the owner has not taken effective safety precautions, then regardless of whether the victim is at fault, the animal's owner or minder will assume total responsibility. For example, if a pet dog bites someone, and its owner did not have it on a leash, then regardless of whether or not the victim is at fault, total responsibility lies with the owner. In addition, if a dangerou animals barred from urban areas, such as a python or crocodile, is kept without permission and harms someone, then regardless of whether or not the victim is at fault, total responsibility lies with the animal's owner or minder.

The Tort Liability Law also stipulates that if abandoned or escaped animals cause injury, then their original owner or minder assumes total responsibility.

The article closes by noting that in many cases, evidence will be difficult to obtain, so the new regulations might be hard to put into effect.

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