I am a dog lover and consider my dog’s family members. My dogs are rescues. I even wrote a novel entitled “The Meaning of Home” about my Pomeranian Charlie’s fictional past life before me and his search for a forever home. I support rescue organizations and encourage people to adopt dogs. But with dog ownership comes added family responsibility.
How Common Are Dog Bites?
About 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year, and 800,000 of those victims need medical care. The two most notorious breeds for attacks are pit bull terriers and rottweilers. They get a bad rap. In fact, these dogs can be as loving and playful as golden retrievers with the proper care and upbringing.
The law does not place any higher responsibility on the owner based on the breed. Any dog can cause a serious bite wound. Owners are charged with control of the dog especially if they have reason to believe it has aggressive tendencies. Those who adopt dogs with an unknown past need to pay particular attention to the dog’s tendencies until the dog has had enough time to acclimate to its new surroundings and can be trusted.
Legal Responsibility for Dog Bites
All dog owners are required to keep dogs confined to their property and on a leash while off the property. The law will impose liability on an owner for injury caused by a loose dog off the property. If you have adopted a dog that exhibits fear near strangers, you may want to use a humane muzzle for its walks and post warnings to visitors of the dog’s presence on your premises.
Even dogs that may be playful and loving with humans they know may be skittish and bite out of fear when confronted by humans they don’t. Dog owners should be aware of their dog’s personality just like a child’s and take cautions to protect the dog and humans it encounters from harmful situations. Loving a dog means protecting it from situations in which its instincts may bring on unwanted behaviors.
Before entering the world of dog ownership, please understand your responsibilities. In the meantime, please contact me with any questions if you have been bitten by a dog or your dog has bitten someone.