54-601. Dogs; personal property; owner liable for damages; exceptions.

(1) Dogs are hereby declared to be personal property for all intents and purposes, and, except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, the owner or owners of any dog or dogs shall be liable for any and all damages that may accrue (a) to any person, other than a trespasser, by reason of having been bitten by any such dog or dogs and (b) to any person, firm, or corporation by reason of such dog or dogs killing, wounding, injuring, worrying, or chasing any person or persons or any sheep or other domestic animals belonging to such person, firm, or corporation. Such damage may be recovered in any court having jurisdiction of the amount claimed.

(2)(a) A governmental agency or its employees using a dog in military or police work shall not be liable under subsection (1) of this section to a party to, participant in, or person reasonably suspected to be a party to or participant in the act that prompted the use of the dog in the military or police work if the officers of the governmental agency were complying with a written policy on the necessary and appropriate use of a dog for military or police work adopted by the governmental agency and if the damage occurred while the dog was responding to a harassing or provoking act or the damage was the result of a reasonable use of force while the dog or dogs were assisting an employee of the agency in any of the following:

(i) The apprehension or holding of a suspect if the employee has a reasonable suspicion of the suspect's involvement in criminal activity;

(ii) The investigation of a crime or possible crime;

(iii) The execution of a warrant; or

(iv) The defense of a peace officer or another person other than the suspect.

(b) For purposes of this subsection, harassing or provoking act means knowingly and intentionally attempting to interfere with, interfering with, teasing or harassing such dog in order to distract, or agitating or harming such dog.

Source:Laws 1877, § 1, p. 156; Laws 1899, c. 4, § 1, p. 54; R.S.1913, § 172; C.S.1922, § 169; C.S.1929, § 54-601; R.S.1943, § 54-601; Laws 1947, c. 192, § 1, p. 629; Laws 1961, c. 268, § 1, p. 786; Laws 1992, LB 1011, § 1; Laws 2009, LB347, § 1.