In some business settings, it seems like it would be harmless to allow customers to bring their pets along with them to shop or obtain service. However, there is a good reason why the majority of businesses you enter have clearly visible signs that state pets are not allowed inside. Regardless of the type of business you are in, allowing pets beyond the threshold of the front door may not always be the best idea. There are things that you should consider about the relationship between your liability as a business owner and the dangers of pets.
You Could Be Held Liable for Other People's Pets
You may think that giving clear instructions to keep pets on a leash will suffice to take liability off of your shoulders; however, as a business owner, just allowing pets inside at all will place the responsibility in your court if something goes wrong. One of the biggest aspects of any business is keeping patrons safe when they come in for a visit by maintaining an environment where injuries are not likely to occur. You are the person in charge of making decisions and setting guidelines about what takes place inside the building. Therefore, a customer that comes in contact with an unruly animal and gets hurt will be questioning why you did not keep your place of business safe.
Negligence is Not Always Easy to Disprove
In the event you are pursued by a personal injury attorney, like the ones at Randall A. Wolff & Associates, Ltd, because a client is hurt, it is not easy to prove that you should not be held liable. If, for example, a dangerous dog is brought in by a customer and bites another customer, there could be ways to prove you were not at fault. A few things a judge will take into consideration during a claim evaluation will include:
- Whether you knew the pet was a threat or danger
- If you have signs posted warning of pets in your place of business
- If proactive action was taken on your part after the incident to remove a pet from the store
Some businesses are logical places for pets to be found, such as in a pet store, or dog training center. However, in most other scenarios keeping pets prohibited inside could be the best for your business. You cannot always rely on how an animal is going to behave, but you can rely on rules to keep your customers safe.