The law does create an exception to liability for trained law enforcement dogs who are “reasonably and carefully being used in the apprehension, arrest, or location of a suspected offender or in maintaining or controlling the public order.”
When a Utah dog bite or other dog-related injury case is based in negligence, however, a dog owner may raise one or more defenses. For instance, the dog’s owner may argue that the injured person was partly or totally responsible for the injuries. This is called “comparative negligence,” and the argument may arise that the injured person was provoking the dog at the time of the injury.
Utah is a “modified” comparative negligence state. If the injured person is found to be less than 50 percent at fault, Utah law requires the court to reduce the injured person’s total damages award by a percentage equal to his or her fault. If the injured person is found to be 50 percent or more at fault, however, he or she is barred from collecting any damages at all from any other at-fault party.
If the injured person was trespassing at the time of the injury, a dog owner may also be able to argue that limits on homeowner liability for trespasser injuries apply to the case.