The one bite law refers to a common law principle that protects defendants from liability for injuries caused by a domesticated animal. The one bite law holds that an individual can generally argue that they were not aware that their animal had a proclivity for causing injury as long as it has no previous history of injuring individuals. The one bite defense is not absolute however and some defendants can still be found to be negligent if there is compelling evidence that the defendant should have known that their animal could cause injury to others.
In general, dog bites are a civil matter that is handled by noncriminal courts. However, in the event that a dog causes a serious injury, especially if it is at the command of the owner, criminal charges can be filed.
In general, it is assumed that any domesticated animal is not harmful to others. This means that if an animal injures someone it is assumed to have been done unintentionally. However, if an owner commands an animal to attack or fails to take appropriate precautions with an animal that is established to have a tendency to hurt others, criminal charges can become involved.