Pet ownership is a big responsibility. Pet owners are in charge of their pet’s needs, from what they eat to training them. When it comes to owning a dog, you are required to take them out for walks, allow them to get their daily dose of exercise, and even let them socialize with other pets and people. But then, this becomes a tricky task since dogs think differently than humans. You can’t simply expect them to act as how you want them to just because you told them to.
The Problem with Dog Bites
Pet bites can happen to anyone, be it the pet owner, their neighbors, or even random people on the streets. The last thing you want is your best friend biting you or anyone else. A dog’s bite can lead to serious injuries, even death.
Approximately 4.5 million cases of dog bite injuries are reported each year. This is according to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The elderly and kids between five and nine are more likely to be victims of dog bite attacks.
Failure to train dogs the right way can lead to them biting people. They may stay loyal to their family members. But when it comes to other people, this can be a different story.
Dog bites are not only painful. These can also cause trauma to unsuspecting victims. If your dog bites another person, you can be held liable since you are the owner after all.
A dog bite victim can file a case with the help of a personal injury attorney. One can claim compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the dog bit. Like other claims, the complexities of the case will depend on numerous accounts.
What Are the Applicable Laws for Dog Bites?
There are times when a pet owner’s negligence became a big factor that led to the dog biting and causing injury. Let’s say you were careless in the sense you failed to keep your dog contained or on a leash while allowing him to go for a walk. Letting your pet run at large, especially in areas where there are prohibitions against this, can lead you to get in trouble with the law.
Strict Statutory Liability
There are states where dog owners are automatically held liable for the damages and injuries caused by their dogs. This usually extends to everyone owning the dog. This means if there is a joint or co-ownership at the time the dog bit the plaintiff, both owners can be held liable.
Some states enforce a one-bite rule. This refers to a situation when the victim presents evidence that the owner is aware that their pet is dangerous and can damage property or inflicting injury. The following can be used as evidence in proving this claim.
- The dog already has a documented prior bite
- The dog is known to have aggressive conduct like lunging, snarling, or excessive barking.
Some states can hold owners accountable even if they do not know their prior knowledge of their pet’s aggression. Texas, for instance, uses the one-bite rule except in situations when the owner’s negligence led to their dog biting other people or causing damages to properties. In such cases, the owner is liable for compensating the victim.
Claims Against Landlords
There are cases when landlords or property managers can be held liable if their tenant’s dog bit and injured another person. The plaintiff will need to prove that the landlords know the dog in question is dangerous. A claim can be made against him in cases he failed to protect the public by accidentally letting the dog out or failure to secure the premises.
Avoiding Dog Bite Injuries
Dog owners must be responsible enough in training their dogs to act and socialize with other people and animals. Exposing dogs to different situations after obedience training can help avoid biting incidents. It also helps that you get to know your adopted dog’s history and find out what provokes such aggressive behavior so you know how to act accordingly.
It helps not to discipline dogs with aggressive, violent, or physical punishments. Learning his body language and keeping him in a fenced area or on a leash is another way to keep your pooch from biting anyone. It is also crucial that dog owners keep up with their vaccinations, especially rabies.
Owning a dog is never easy. You are not only in charge of their needs and safety but the safety of other people as well. Follow safety precautions and keep an eye on your pooch to avoid situations that can lead him to biting and hurting other people.