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Does Your Dog Bite? A True Story of Dog Bite Liability

Posted on Monday, March 3, 2014    

In the scene from the Pink Panther movie shown above, Chief Inspector Clouseau (portrayed by Peter Sellers) is checking into a hotel in Germany. He sees a dog in the lobby and asks the manager of the hotel, “Does your dog bite?” When the manager replies, “No,” Clouseau reaches down to pet the dog, at which point, the dog bites him on the hand. Clouseau then states, “I thought you said your dog does not bite,” and the manager replied, “That is not my dog.” While the irony in the scene brings about laughter, there is nothing funny about being bitten by a dog.

In a recent case, our firm had the privilege of meeting a sweet four year old girl who was the victim of an attack by a pit bull. One beautiful spring day, this young girl was spending the day outside picking flowers in her yard and running back and forth to her next door neighbor’s house delivering those flowers as gifts. Lying asleep in the yard was the neighbor’s pit bull that the girl had spent much time around and that had not shown any aggression before. With no warning and without provocation, the dog leaped up, grabbed the girl by the neck and jaw and shook her about like a rag doll. Since the incident, the girl has undergone two reconstructive surgeries to her face and has lifelong scarring and disfigurement. She has had bouts with nightmares and his anxiety and confidence issues due to her scarring. Our firm was able to assist her and her family through the legal processes to pursue justice on her behalf.

In an effort to try to minimize animal attacks, cities and counties around the state and nation have enacted various ordinances regarding “vicious” animals, and some have even gone so far as to prohibit certain breeds of dogs within the city or county limits. While some dog breeds have a negative reputation for aggressiveness, it is imperative to remember that all dogs have the innate ability to bite. Even just a “nip” from a larger breed of dog can do serious damage.

If you are a dog owner, you should take every precaution to make sure that your animal is properly fenced or kenneled to make sure that you, your family, and the community is safe from any possible harm that might come if your dog got loose. It is also important to be aware of dogs in your neighborhood and to always be on alert if you are outside in your neighborhood. It only takes a few moments for a dog to do serious harm to you or your children.

If you find that you or your children are the victim of a dog bite, seek immediate medical attention, contact animal control to report the attack, and take photos of the injuries.