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Dobermann Pinscher. Vector isolated dog.

Dobermann Pinscher. Vector isolated dog.

It has probably happened to all of us.  We are walking along and see a dog.  Our first reaction is to reach out and pet that dog even though we don’t know the temperament of the animal.  Because of this, there are many dog bites every year that people end up in the ER.

Dog bites are extremely painful and traumatic.  Situations resulting in dog bites differ greatly.  Was the dog being teased and was just defending itself?  Did you get bit trying to break up two dogs fighting?  Or did the attack come about seemingly unprovoked?  If a personal injury claim is made, all of these factors will be used to determine responsibility.

Everyone knows that a dog shouldn’t be running free and needs to be under its owner’s control at all times.  But we all know there are times when this just isn’t happening.  Dogs are known to escape from their owner’s property.  Even if a dog is on its owner’s property, someone may come onto the property.  Mail carriers are famous for their interactions with homeowner’s dogs.

So what would make a dog owner be held responsible for injuries incurred by his or her dog biting someone?  Obviously they would be responsible if their dog was roaming free.  If they had a dog that was known to be vicious and they didn’t secure it at all times, they would be responsible for injuries.  Always assume that a rescued dog may bite in unknown situations.  Be safe when not knowing the history of a dog, especially around children. Certain breeds are thought to be more apt for attacks than others, but in reality any dog can bite if provoked, scared or threatened.  Many homeowner’s insurance policies will not cover certain breeds.  Check with your insurer to see if your dog is one of these breeds.

If you are a dog owner there are things you need to do to minimize any unfortunate incidents involving your pet.  Number one, keep your dog under your control at all times; either fenced in or on a leash.  Number two, if you have a dog that is protective of you and your property make sure there are signs stating that.  It is also necessary to keep your dog up to date on all vaccinations.  If a biting incident should occur, having accurate medical records of your dog’s health will alleviate any added medical treatment to the victim.

Having a dog can be a wonderful and rewarding experience.  Use common sense and precautions to make sure you and your dog have a long and bite free existence together.