Why Is Dog Bite Serious Crime For Dog Owners?

Dogs are all fun and great to own until they cause harm to you or others. Unfortunately, accidents happen, and dogs may sometimes turn against you. They tend to cause serious havoc when this happens, and the consequences are dire. The dog owner is liable for the punishment and can even be sued by the affected individuals.

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While you may not control this, you must ensure your dog is not a threat to other people outside your home. Unless someone was trespassing or forcefully trying to enter your home/ premises during the attack, your dog should assault them. Understanding the rules and laws governing dog bites is essential for every pet owner. Keep reading for more insights.

Understanding Dog Owner Liability

While you can easily hire lawyers specializing in dog bites to help you deal with a dog bite case, it is crucial to understand the liability, especially if you are the dog owner. The law requires that you ensure your dog does not cause harm to people and property. It doesn’t matter if the injury or damage happens inside the property or outside.

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If such happens, the dog owner is liable and will have to reimburse the affected. In addition, they may be forced to pay for medical bills and cater to the pain and loss that results after the dog bite. Therefore, dog owners should get a dog owner liability insurance policy as this will cover the cost in case of such occurrences.

Civil liability Explained

A dog owner is liable for the injuries caused by their dog in several instances. However, this liability applies in different cases as follows:

  1. A dog-bite statute applies. This refers to the case where the dog owner will be financially responsible for the injuries or damage caused by their dog. Some states have strict laws on this, regardless of its fault. It does not matter the dog’s history or if there was any form of carelessness. This applies in states with strict liability dog-bite laws.
  2. Victims prove that the owner understood the dog’s tendencies. In case you come from a state with no strict liability dog-bite laws, the one-bite rule may apply if the dog bites a person while the owner knew it had the potential to do so. It is up to the victim to prove that the dog owner was aware of their dog’s behavior and could not do anything to control it.
  3. Proof of negligence. As victims of dog bites, you may have to prove that the dog owner was negligent when the dog attack happened. There may be simple rules that the homeowners need to adhere to avoid carelessness. For example, leashing the dog or locking the gate to prevent it from getting outside are a few precautionary measures that, when ignored, indicate negligence. The dog bite may be considered the owner’s fault in such instances.

While the law seems to favor the victims only, it helps to note that the dog owner is also protected by law. If the dog owner can prove that the attack happened due to trespass or provocation, they will not be liable for any expenses.

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This also applies to cases and places with strict liability dog-bite statutes. The court would dismiss your case or claim if the attack happened due to trespass or provocation. The courts may also reduce the liability if the victim is partly at fault and responsible for the accident.

Can Dog Bites Attract Criminal Liability?

Most states have the “dangerous dog laws,” where the judge may direct a specific order concerning the dog that hurt/ harmed others. In severe instances, the judge may order that the dog be euthanized if it is a serious threat. Any dog owner that fails to comply with such orders will be criminally liable.

In some cases, though rare, the court may charge a dog owner with manslaughter if their dog killed someone because of the owner’s negligence. Note that different states have specific rules regarding dog bites and dog attacks.

It is possible to find that some states will order criminal charges against a dog owner that negligently let their dog injure someone seriously or kill them, especially if they knew the dog’s nature. Therefore, dog owners need to exercise a lot of caution when dealing with their pets.

What to Do After a Dog Attack?

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You need to know how to react once a dog has bitten you. Acting promptly can also help whenever you want to seek justice.

  • Get the dog owner’s contacts and name. It is possible that you may not want to sue the owner of the cash but have the details. You may change your mind later, depending on the attack’s aftermath. If you get health complications from a dog bite or attack, you may want to involve the dog owner. Ask the dog owner to give you the details of their liability insurance to be safe.
  • Get contacts of witnesses. You never know when you will need the support to back up your claims. Taking the case to court or negotiating compensation may prove that the accident happened. This will apply especially if you do not know who the dog owner is. Witness accounts and your own can help the animal control authorities to trace the dog’s owner and get you the justice you deserve.
  • Take pictorial evidence if you can take pictures immediately after the accident/attack. For example, you could capture the dog as it gets back into the compound, probably through a hole or an open gate. Also, capture your injuries immediately before there are any reactions. Note that these will be instrumental when proving negligence.
  • Get Medical Assistance: Depending on the severity of your injuries, you want to take care of the injuries immediately. Just be careful to keep the records and the bills. These will be used when seeking to be compensated.

Report the case to the authorities. The animal control authorities may require the dog to be quarantined to observe it. You could also check their records to see if the dog has a history of previous attacks, as this could help build your case.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are the victim of the dog owner, knowing your rights is what matters. You could get in touch with lawyers who understand the dog bites laws in your state. This ensures you get a fair judgment and settlement.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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