Dogs Won’t Bite, Unless . . .

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturer’s Association, the third type of pet that is most commonly kept in 71.1 million households in the US is dogs, which number to 74.8 million (the first is freshwater fish at 142 million, while the second is cats, of which there are 88.3 million). When it comes to which pet is loved most, however, then there is a completely different story than what the numbers say.

While cats and other animals may look cuter than (some) dogs, the energy, playfulness and loyalty of dogs are characteristics that no other pet may be able to show. This is why, despite having freshwater fishes and/or cats in the house, many still choose to have a dog around.

It is natural for dog owners to believe that their pet dog is the greatest and friendliest pet anyone can have. Though this may be true at some point, what pet owners, in general, fail to realize is that there are instances when even the most domesticated pets become uncontrollable, causing injuries to people in the process. Also, to believe that one dog is as friendly as another is a big mistake. In fact, based on records from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), reports of dog bites total to 800,000 every year. The irony regarding dog bites, however, is that, instead of strangers being the ones bitten most, the most common victims of dog bites are young children and older adults who are members of the dog owner’s own family. And, contrary to what many think that these bites are just minor scratches, majority of these cause lacerations and disfigurement; some even result to death, especially bites to the head or neck of children below four years old.

While dogs are, undeniably, fun and loving animals, if these, however, feel threatened or if their energy is kept unspent, then these may suddenly attack or become overly playful which can be a cause of injury. To protect people from dog bites or attacks, each state has enacted its own law, like the leash law in the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, or a law that prohibits owners from letting their dogs loose or at large. According to a Charleston personal injury lawyer, in the state of South Carolina, a dog owner, as well as the person handling the dog at the time when such dog attacks or bites someone, will be held liable for injuries caused by their dog, even if they did not know or could not have known that the dog would inflict the injuries.

In the states of Denver and Colorado, however, a breed of dog, the pit bull, has been banned due to the disturbing cases of attacks reported of this breed. Pit bulls, even according to professional dog owners, are more hostile than other breeds of dogs. In fact, in many states, Pit bulls are identified as lethal weapons so that police officers have been authorized by courts to shoot these dogs if these, in any way, threaten to attack or bite anyone. From 2005 to 2012, Pit bulls have been linked to 250 fatal attacks on senior citizens and children.

Victims of dog bites and dog attacks have the right to pursue legal action against the owner of the dog (that caused the bite or the attack). This legal action is mainly for the purpose of seeking compensation for all damages, which may include: cost of medical care; scarring/disfigurement; income lost during recovery; pain and suffering; and, loss of enjoyment or quality of life (if the injury is severe enough to cause life-changing effects).