Dogs make wonderful companion animals and are often regarded as another member of the family by those who own and care for them. However, not all dogs come from loving homes, and abused animals can lash out unexpectedly. Similarly, some dogs are trained from birth to be fighting dogs or vicious guard dogs, and all too often such canines end up attacking human beings, causing major injuries that could require expensive reconstructive surgery after the fact. When this happens, the dog’s owner or handler can be held liable in civil court for the damages to persons or property that happened because of their dog. If you or a loved one were attacked by a dog and want to speak to a dog bite lawyer about taking legal action in civil court, contact the Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. to discuss your options under the law.
Does breed matter?
The breed can play a role in how prone to attack a given dog maybe, although it is not the only characteristic that can influence how bite-prone a canine is. Some toy breeds are considered to be more naturally aggressive, such as Chihuahuas. However, even these naturally energetic, aggressive breeds of dogs can be taught to behave around people and other dogs by a caring owner who enrolls them in obedience training.
Aggression is not the sole factor in dog injury
Although some breeds may be more likely to engage in aggressive behavior, aggression is not the main factor that impacts how damaging a dog bite can be. The dog’s size and strength matter more in dog attacks than how aggressive their breed has a reputation for being. After all, a Rottweiler that weighs more than 100 pounds is going to have a more powerful bite and be able to cause more serious damage in an attack than a tiny chihuahua who cannot reach past an adult human’s kneecap.
Dog bite facts
The American Veterinary Medical Association published a literature review in 2014 on the role of breed in dog attacks. Their findings showed that German Shepherd dogs, mixed-breed dogs and pit bulls were the breeds most commonly implicated in major bite injuries. Pit bulls were most common in fatal attacks, possibly due to their tendency to be trained for use as fighting dogs (and thus, undergoing abuse from owners).
FAQs for Allentown Dog Attack Attorney
Our country is a nation of dog lovers, which is evident from the number of dogs owned by Americans (nearly 90 million canines are owned in the U.S.).
While most dog owners consider their furry friends part of their family, it is important to remember that dogs can be dangerous if they are not properly trained, socialized, or restrained.
It is not uncommon for dogs to attack humans and animals because these pets can be unpredictable at times. According to the Canine Journal, more than 4.7 million Americans across the country are attacked by a dog each year.
If you have been bitten by a dog, get immediate medical attention, and contact an Allentown dog attack attorney to determine whether you have a right to sue the dog owner.
Why Do Dogs Attack People?
Children account for the vast majority of victims of dog attacks in Pennsylvania and the U.S. as a whole. In fact, a dog bite is the fifth most common cause of emergency room visits among children.
Senior citizens are the second most vulnerable group of people when it comes to dog attacks. But why do dogs attack children, senior citizens, and other people? The most common reasons why a dog becomes aggressive and chooses to attack its victim include:
- Dominance. When a dog wants to assert its dominance, it can resort to physical aggression to show who the boss is. A dog can try to assert its authority when around family members and strangers.
- Self-defense or fear. A dog may choose to attack a human out of self-defense or fear (for example, when a person approaches the canine too quickly or comes too close when the dog is afraid).
- Territorial protection. Dogs are loyal to their owners and their property, which is why it is not uncommon for these pets to attack strangers when they approach their owner or territory.
- Prey. Many dog breeds are natural predators, which is why they might attack small and quickly moving targets, especially children and smaller animals.
- Pain. A bite or attack is also a natural reaction to when someone approaches, holds, or touches the dog when it is injured or in pain.
- Punishment. Anyone who verbally assaults, hits, or kicks a dog or attempts to do so can cause a dog’s aggression.
When Does Pennsylvania Law Consider a Dog ‘Dangerous’?
Under Pennsylvania’s Dangerous Dog Laws, a dog is considered “dangerous” if it:
- Injured a person who did not provoke it on public or private property
- Injured or killed a domestic animal without provocation, but only as long as the attack occurred off the owner’s property
- Was used by the owner or possessor to commit a crime
Besides, a dog must have a history of attacking humans or domestic animals in the past to be considered dangerous. If the plaintiff establishes that the dog has a “tendency” for attacking humans or domestic animals without provocation, he or she may successfully hold the owner of the dog liable for any damages and losses incurred as a result of the attack.
However, if the dog attack occurred because the dog owner failed to keep their dog on a leash or under the reasonable control, the dog does not have to be labeled dangerous in order for the plaintiff to be entitled to monetary recovery.
What Defenses Can a Dog Owner Use?
Typically, dog owners use two types of defenses to escape liability in dog bite claims:
- The plaintiff provoked the dog
- The plaintiff was trespassing at the time of the attack
Under Pennsylvania law, in order for the dog owner to be held liable for injuries, the plaintiff must prove that the dog attacked him or her without provocation. The plaintiff must also show evidence that he or she was not trespassing at the time of the bite, as state laws in Pennsylvania prevent an injured party from seeking financial compensation for dog bites that occur when he or she was committing a “willful trespass” at the time of the incident.
In some cases, hiring an Allentown dog attack attorney is the only way to challenge the dog owner’s defense and prove your eligibility to recover damages.
Our attorneys can help
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. are available if you need a dog bite lawyer in Allentown. The horrific damage that can result from dog attacks does not have to go unanswered—your family deserves justice after a dog bite. Our attorneys specialize in handling dog attack litigation claims, and we want to help you pursue the recovery of damages. Damages are calculated and given a monetary value based on factors such as the extent of injuries, cost of medical care related to injury treatment, and pain and suffering endured due to the injuries. These damages may then be paid out to you in the form of financial compensation, and we will fight to get you every dollar you are entitled to under the law. Call today for a free case evaluation.