Chief Sponsor: Daniel W. Thatcher

House Sponsor: Candice B. Pierucci


8     Committee Note:
9          The Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee recommended this bill.
10               Legislative Vote:     15 voting for     0 voting against     1 absent
11     General Description:
12          This bill amends the liability provisions for dog bites relating to law enforcement
13     activities and requires the annual certification of law enforcement canines and handlers.
14     Highlighted Provisions:
15          This bill:
16          ▸     amends the liability provision for dog bites relating to law enforcement activities to
17     require certification of dogs and handlers, a written policy on the use of dogs, and
18     compliance with the policy; and
19          ▸     enacts the Law Enforcement Canine Team Certification Act, to require certification
20     and training of dogs and handlers.
21     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
22          None
23     Other Special Clauses:
24          None
25     Utah Code Sections Affected:
26     AMENDS:
27          18-1-1, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2019, Chapter 92

28     ENACTS:
29          53-6-401, Utah Code Annotated 1953
30          53-6-402, Utah Code Annotated 1953
31          53-6-403, Utah Code Annotated 1953

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

56          53-6-401. Definitions.
57          As used in this part:
58          (1) "Council" means the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council created in

59     Section 53-6-106.
60          (2) "Qualifying canine certifying entity" means an entity that certifies law enforcement
61     canines and law enforcement canine handlers in accordance with the standards developed under
62     Section 53-6-403.
63          Section 3. Section 53-6-402 is enacted to read:
64          53-6-402. Law enforcement canine and handler certification.
65          (1) Each law enforcement canine in the state shall be initially certified and annually
66     recertified by a qualifying canine certifying entity.
67          (2) Each law enforcement canine handler in the state shall be initially certified and
68     annually recertified by a qualifying canine certifying entity.
69          Section 4. Section 53-6-403 is enacted to read:
70          53-6-403. Canine and handler certification standards and criteria--Rules.
71          In accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act, the
72     council shall establish and maintain required standards for the training, certification, and
73     recertification of:
74          (1) law enforcement canines; and
75          (2) law enforcement canine handlers.