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.

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