Dog Bites Can Be A Serious Matter
“Does your dog bite?”
[*bowing down to pet the dog]
[*dog barks at & bites Clouseau]
“I thought you said your dog did not bite!”
“That is not my dog.”
– From The Pink Panther Strikes Again
There are an estimated 4.5 million dog bites that occur each year in the U.S. and more than 30,000 victims required some type of reconstructive surgery. There are many dog bites that are not reported and where the victims do not seek medical care. Dogs are trained to protect and rescue. By nature they are loyal to their owners and instinctively gentle in non-threatening situations. So how can a family pet cause so much harm? What causes a dog to be aggressive and bite? Who is responsible for the harm the dog bites cause?
Dogs are territorial. We have all been walking down the street and pass a house where a dog is barking profusely behind a fence. They also behave this way towards other animals and dogs. The more dogs around the greater the risk of an attack.
Children ages 5-9, are often targets because they are irrational, unpredictable, loud and their actions, though innocent are perceived as aggressive towards a dog. Intruders are the last common targets for dog attacks. Unless you are familiar, you are perceived as an intruder and a dog’s nature is to protect his territory.
Dog breeds play a role in the aggressive nature of a dog. Families that have small children often get a mild mannered dog that is not known for agitation or aggression toward children. Some raise dogs to hunt and the dog is trained to attack by scent. Others scenarios involve people who have an aggressive nature themselves and raise dogs to behave the same.
In any case, the owner of the dog has an obligation to keep the dog and the public safe from any possible attacks. If a dog attacks someone who has come unlawfully on their property, the dog is not at fault and the owner is not liable. However, if the dog leaves the yard and aggressively attacks a person passing by, the owner is liable by law.
The law firm of Teal & Montgomery is experienced in helping families and individuals who have been injured by another’s negligence. If you or a loved one have been victim to a dog bite, contact us or call 707-525-1212 to schedule a free initial consultation at your convenience.