Dog Bite AWarness: Who’s at Fault?

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After a dog attack or bite, the victim and pet owner must determine who is at fault. There are a variety of reasons for the attacks, and some of these circumstances are based on the actions of the pet owner or the victim. By reviewing what happened, an attorney can determine who is at fault for the dog attack.  

Was the Victim on the Property Legally?

Before a claimant gets started on a legal claim for a dog attack, the victim must prove that they had a legal right to be on the pet owner’s property if the attack happened at the dog’s home. The victim must prove they were invited by the pet owner, were completing their work tasks, or were nearby the property and were pulled onto the property by the animal.

Any criminal acts linked to the attack such as trespassing, attempted break-ins, or any unlawful act disqualifies the claimant for a lawsuit. Victims who were bit by a dog get started by defining their right to be on the property. 

Did the Victim Provoke or Commit Animal Cruelty?

All states have animal cruelty laws, and a victim of a dog attack must not be guilty of animal cruelty. The person cannot provoke the animal and contribute to the cause of the dog attack. If the defendant proves the victim was guilty of animal abuse or cruelty, the personal injury case could be dismissed, and the victim may face criminal charges.  

Was the Dog Roaming Around Freely in A Neighborhood?

City ordinances prevent pet owners from allowing their dogs to roam freely in neighborhoods. When the dogs are going for walks or around the neighborhood, the owner must put the dogs on a leash and maintain control over them. If the dogs are outdoors, the pet owner must keep their dogs in an outdoor enclosure or fence to prevent access to humans around the area.

The dogs shouldn’t be able to escape the outdoor enclosure or fencing, and the owner must maintain these spaces for improved safety. If the dog was roaming freely in the neighborhood, the victim has a viable claim, and the pet owner faces city ordinance violations.  

Did the Dog Have the Rabies Virus?

After a dog attack, the first major concern for the animal control officers is to determine if the pet was vaccinated. Any dog that has the rabies virus is a risk to everyone, and animal control officers must handle the dogs and protect the public.

If the dog isn’t showing signs of rabies but wasn’t vaccinated, the pet owner must surrender their dog to a licensed vet for an assessment and vaccinations. The pet owner incurs all costs for the 12-day quarantine and all vet services provided. The animal control officer determines what happens to the animal after the quarantine period.  

Did the Owner Fail to Control Their Animal?

Pet owners face strict liabilities if their dog was involved in previous attacks, and the owner failed to maintain control over their dogs. Strict liabilities require the pet owner to pay for all the victim’s medical costs and financial losses caused by the attack.  

Dog attacks are caused by a multitude of circumstances, including territorial and aggressive behavior patterns. Dog owners are required to maintain control over the animals and reduce the risk of attack by following local laws and ordinances. By reviewing dog attack laws, victims can learn what to do next when filing a legal claim.  


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