Chief Sponsor: Daniel W. Thatcher

House Sponsor: Candice B. Pierucci


8     General Description:
9          This bill amends the liability provisions for dog bites relating to law enforcement
10     activities and requires the annual certification of law enforcement canines and handlers.
11     Highlighted Provisions:
12          This bill:
13          ▸     amends the liability provision for dog bites relating to law enforcement activities to
14     require certification of dogs and handlers, a written policy on the use of dogs, and
15     compliance with the policy; and
16          ▸     enacts the Law Enforcement Canine Team Certification Act, to require certification
17     and training of dogs and handlers.
18     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
19          None
20     Other Special Clauses:
21          None
22     Utah Code Sections Affected:
23     AMENDS:
24          18-1-1, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2019, Chapter 92
25     ENACTS:
26          53-6-401, Utah Code Annotated 1953
27          53-6-402, Utah Code Annotated 1953
28          53-6-403, Utah Code Annotated 1953

30     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
31          Section 1. Section 18-1-1 is amended to read:
32          18-1-1. Liability and damages for dog injury -- Dogs used in law enforcement.
33          (1) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (2), a person who owns or keeps a dog is
34     liable for an injury caused by the dog, regardless of whether:
35          (i) the dog is vicious or mischievous; or
36          (ii) the owner knows the dog is vicious or mischievous.
37          (b) Damages for an injury described in Subsection (1)(a) shall be determined in
38     accordance with Section 78B-5-818.
39          (2) Neither the state nor any county, city, metro township, or town in the state nor any
40     peace officer employed by the state, a county, a city, a metro township, or a town shall be liable
41     in damages for an injury caused by a dog, if:
42          (a) the dog [has been trained] and the dog's law enforcement handler are trained to
43     assist in law enforcement[;] and are certified according to the standards adopted in Title 53,
44     Chapter 6, Part 4, Law Enforcement Canine Team Certification Act;
45          (b) the governmental agency has adopted a written policy on the necessary and
46     appropriate use of dogs in official law enforcement duties;
47          (c) the actions of the dog's handler do not violate the agency's written policy; and
48          [(b)] (d) the injury occurs while the dog is reasonably and carefully being used in the
49     apprehension, arrest, or location of a suspected offender or in maintaining or controlling the
50     public order.
51          Section 2. Section 53-6-401 is enacted to read:
Part 4. Law Enforcement Canine Team Certification Act

53          53-6-401. Definitions.
54          As used in this part:
55          (1) "Council" means the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council created in
56     Section 53-6-106.
57          (2) "Qualifying canine certifying entity" means an entity that certifies law enforcement

58     canines and law enforcement canine handlers in accordance with the standards developed under
59     Section 53-6-403.
60          Section 3. Section 53-6-402 is enacted to read:
61          53-6-402. Law enforcement canine and handler certification.
62          (1) Each law enforcement canine in the state shall be initially certified and annually
63     recertified by a qualifying canine certifying entity.
64          (2) Each law enforcement canine handler in the state shall be initially certified and
65     annually recertified by a qualifying canine certifying entity.
66          Section 4. Section 53-6-403 is enacted to read:
67          53-6-403. Canine and handler certification standards and criteria--Rules.
68          In accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act, the
69     council shall establish and maintain required standards for the training, certification, and
70     recertification of:
71          (1) law enforcement canines; and
72          (2) law enforcement canine handlers.