Dog attacks represent some of the most gruesome personal injuries that are suffered, particularly where a child is involved (as is often the case). In its most recent study, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that at least 27 people died as the result of dog bite attacks (18 people in 1997 and 9 in 1998; See Dog Bite Data). Of 27 human dog bite related fatalities (DBRF), 19 (70%) were children (1 was 30 days old, 3 were between 7 and 11 months old, 9 were between 1 and 4 years old, and 6 were between 5 and 11 years old), and 8 were adults (ages 17, 44, 64, 70, 73, 75, 75, and 87). It is important to teach children to be safe around dogs to prevent these catastrophic events from occurring.
Oklahoma has a strict liability dog bite statute that states that the owner of a dog is liable for damages inflicted by his/her dog if it bites a person who is either in a public place or lawfully on the dog owner's property (invitee or guest). 4 Okl. St. § 42.1. The dog owner is liable regardless of whether the dog had ever been vicious before and regardless of whether the owner had reason to believe it would behave in a vicious manner. The dog does not get "one free bite". The only defenses to the strict liability statute arise where the injured party provoked the dog 4 Okl. St. § 42.1. In essence, the dog’s owner is an insurer of the dog.
If a stray bites you, you have little legal recourse because you must file your claim against a dog's owner or keeper. Your municipality is not responsible for the dog, even if you have called the animal warden several times to pick up the stray.