Most states have some form of a “one bite” rule that limits dog owners’ liability for their dog’s first bite. After the dog’s first bite, however, owners usually are strictly liable for any additional dog bites. A common exception to the “one bite” rule is if owners knew their dog had vicious propensities. In other words, if owners knew their dog was likely to bite someone, they are liable for even the first bite. Negligence, trespassing and self defense are just a few of the defenses dog owners can assert against plaintiffs in response to a lawsuit. Because dog bite laws vary by state and municipality, a local attorney who handles dog-bite cases can give detailed information.