Massachusetts Legal Blog
There are many reasons why you should not approach an unknown dog, and one really big, obvious reason.
Many people are willing to engage a strange dog, often because they think the dog is cute. As a result, many people will be bitten. This is especially dangerous for children, so teach them early and often to “keep their distance” from strange dogs. Read the rest »
Your house is your sanctuary; a safe place from the rest of the world. The same should be true of your yard. If you have pets—whether dogs, cats, horses, or turkeys—then that yard is their territory. But accidents do happen. And even if you’re being a responsible dog owner, there’s no guarantee everyone else is.
If a dog enters your yard and injures or kills your pets, you can seek damages from the dog’s owner or keeper – Massachusetts defines the “keeper” as one who was given control of the dog – in civil court. Massachusetts is a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog attacks. No matter what kind of damage caused by physical contact with the dog, that damage is recoverable in court. You don’t have to prove that the owner was negligent; the fact that his or her dog caused you injury is enough to make him or her legally responsible to you. As long as you were not “committing a trespass or other tort…teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog” at the time of the attack, then you have a right to file a claim to collect compensation for up to three years after the attack.
Even the sweetest fur-baby can revert to its feral nature in an instant. Granted, some dogs will go their whole lives without a single snap, play-bite, or ER-worthy puncture of human flesh. Out of an estimated 78 million dogs currently owned in the U.S., only 1,000 people each day need medical treatment for dog bites. Considering that dogs are merely domesticated wolves, that’s not too bad.
But domestic dogs are by far the deadliest large carnivores in North America; they have more kills racked up than bears, mountain lions, alligators, and sharks combined. Dogs bite for many reasons, some of them quite logical. All dogs are capable of biting when frightened, in pain, provoked, teased, tormented, beaten, or to protect their owner or territory. So we’re not surprised that dogs can bite, but we’re often surprised when dogs do bite.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Of the estimated 800,000 who seek medical attention, half of them are children. A child’s inherent curiosity can lead to danger when he or she is left with a dog unsupervised. Injuries from animal attacks can be extremely severe and often require extensive medical treatment and care. The root of most dog bites is aggression – if a dog feels threatened in any way, it resorts to lashing out at the cause of the threat. When it comes down to protecting your child from a dog bite, prevention is key. Read the rest »
As most pet owners will attest, dogs make wonderful pets. In some cases, they also make wonderful workers and are often utilized by police forces for a variety of different purposes. Unfortunately, one Massachusetts police dog is believed to have attacked a teenager and his mother. Both dog bite victims suffered bite wounds as a result of the attack. Read the rest »
There are many animal owners in Massachusetts who feel that their pet will do no wrong. Unfortunately, even an animal that has never previously shown aggression could attack innocent people, resulting in serious injuries, infection or disease. In many cases, the pet owner will be held liable for an animal attack. Read the rest »
People in Massachusetts need to be aware of the symptoms and dangers of rabies if they have been the victim of a dog bite. Even domesticated animals might have rabies. When there is a dog bite, receiving immediate testing and treatment is important for both the health of the person who was bitten and in considering an animal bite claim to pay for the medical expenses that resulted from it. Read the rest »
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