The Law Behind Dog Bites

»Posted by on May 8, 2019 in Pets | 0 comments

One of the most divisive questions out there is “are you a dog person or a cat person?” A wrong answer can quickly end a first date or ruin a family reunion. Thankfully, most people tend to go one way or another, and there are even a few who love both! However, just because someone likes dogs does not mean that dogs like them back.

Dogs have two main ways they like to bite: the hard bite and the soft bite. If you’ve ever played with a puppy who wasn’t fully housebroken or been around a dog who just really wanted attention, then you’ve likely experienced the latter. The soft bite is a type of gentle physical contact dogs use to communicate. Think of it as a dog’s attempt to hold your hand or tap you on the shoulder. Most soft bites are playful and not harmful. If a dog senses danger, though, they might use a hard bite as a way to defend themselves. A hard dog bite can break the skin and potentially transmit rabies or other diseases. Dog bites happen over four million times a year in the U.S. alone! Some breeds have more occurrences of attacking humans, but a lot of this is due to breed stereotypes and humans acting more aggressively with breeds they assume are more dangerous.

A dog may lash out and bite a human at any time. Generally speaking, a dog raised in a caring environment with ample socialization isn’t going to hurt you unless there’s a good reason like they believe that they or their owner is in danger. If the dog does bite or attack you for any reason, there are a few cases in which the owner will be liable for the damages. There are three main ways to prove that the victim was, in fact, the victim of an attack. If the injured party was in a public place or lawfully in a private place, if they didn’t provoke the dog, and if the dog is the cause of the injury, there’s a strong case to be made for owner liability. If the owner is found to be liable for the attack, they will likely be ordered to pay for medical bills and other expenses on behalf of the injured. There are a lot of gray areas in this area, namely how one can prove that the animal was unprovoked.

The owner might try and argue that the victim was provoking the dog by whistling at it, or kneeling down to pet it. If the attack occurs somewhere without security cameras or other witnesses it can get confusing really quickly. Many lawyers practice this area well and are able to prove that the victim wasn’t acting maliciously. Places like Hammack Law Firm specialize in dog bites and animal attacks so that victims of these crimes can get justice for what has happened.

read more

Dog Bites and their Unfortunate Bias towards Younger Children

»Posted by on Sep 16, 2017 in Pets | 0 comments

Any owner who owns a dog doesn’t want to think that their dog would ever bite someone let alone a young child. It is a tragic statistic that a disproportionate amount of dog bites occur to children left alone with the animal. There are a number of reasons for this like children don’t understand what a dog would take as a threat or to not bother an animal when they are eating. However, the paramount problem is that the owners of these dogs are not taking steps to keep them out of the reach of small children.

In 2016 there were 48 dog bite incidents in Detroit alone. Beyond a few campaigns by the USPS and animal control to encourage owners to control their pets better there hasn’t been much change. In May of 2017 local news network, WGN9 reported about a 3-week old infant who was killed by the family dog. Apparently, after leaving the child alone for about five minutes the caretaker in charge of the kid found her bleeding from a serious head injury and one of the family dogs with blood staining its jaws. The real heartbreaking thing about this story is that the dog probably did not mean the child any harm. At that young of an age, the skull has not formed yet so while the dog was trying to play with the child it could have treated the baby as a fellow dog. The takeaway is that the responsibility for these types of attacks isn’t on the dog or baby but on the owner who knows the fragility of the baby and strength of the dogs and still allows the two to be left alone in the same room. According to the personal injury lawyers at Ravid & Associates, P.C. around 360,000 children were bitten by dogs between 2010 and 2012. The worst part is that these types of attacks are easily preventable. Some basic tips to avoid these include the aforementioned never leave young children alone with dogs, teach older children not to pet dogs they don’t know, and if you feel threatened by a dog, back away slowly and don’t make any loud noises.

Unfortunately, there are many stories just like this one every year. Dogs and children should always be supervised together until a child is old enough to learn proper safety techniques when interacting with animals. Most dogs are good however even good dogs can have bad days and lash out at those who can’t defend themselves. As humans, we will never fully understand their behavior, but we can take all the necessary precautions to protect our youth. 

Nobody wants to see their family dog injure or in the worst scenarios kill someone. When it comes to dogs, they have very little instinct and learn much of their behavior from their owners and neighborhood dogs. By properly training them and limiting their exposure to dangerous dogs and young children, theses kinds of horrific attacks can be prevented.

read more