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Dog Bites

How Beware of Dog Signs Affect Liability in Massachusetts

By DiBella Law Offices on June 5, 2023

A red and white sign that reads

A dog owner might assume a “Beware of Dog” sign will protect them from liability if a dog bites and injuries any person present on the property. Warning passersby, visitors, and guests about the presence of a dog may be considered a strong defense against a lawsuit. Even in a strict liability state like Massachusetts, a posted sign may suggest that a dog bite victim was aware of the risk – but this is not true in every case.

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If I Report a Dog Bite, Will the Dog Be Euthanized?

By DiBella Law Offices on August 20, 2022

chained-up brown and white pitbull

When it comes to dog bites, Massachusetts is a strict liability state. That means the dog’s owner is responsible to for any harm the dog does to people or property, and the victim does not have to prove negligence to receive compensation.

If a dog is declared to be a “dangerous dog” by the local authority, Massachusetts law allows the authority to require the dog’s owner to take steps to prevent the dog from harming someone in the future. In rare cases, dogs that have killed or seriously harmed people or other animals are euthanized in Massachusetts, but dog owners have the right to appeal the decision.

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What to Do When Your Neighbor’s Dog Attacks

By DiBella Law Offices on July 30, 2022

sad golden retreiver

With pet ownership on the rise across the nation, the chances of being bitten by a dog are greater than ever. Any dog can bite, regardless of breed, size, age, or sex, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). If you or your child is attacked by a neighbor’s dog, you are entitled to seek compensation from the dog’s owner. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to find out how to proceed.

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What Dog Breeds Are Most Dangerous?

By DiBella Law Offices on March 1, 2022

A German Shepherd sitting in a park with its mouth open.

Having a family dog is a proud, lovable tradition in America. As much as you would like to think that all dogs are man’s best friend, the reality is that they’re still animals with natural instincts and may at times be unpredictable in their behavior toward humans or other animals. The way that dogs behave can be shaped by how their owners treat them, and no owner can be sure of whether or not their dog has a troublesome past.

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Preventing Dog Bites and Aggression in MA

By DiBella Law Offices on October 3, 2021

panting dog riding in a car

Dog ownership in the U.S. increased dramatically during 2020, as reported in a Washington Post article. This boom in dog sales and adoptions is largely attributed to the global pandemic. More than 11 million American households have acquired a new pet during this time, according to Today’s Veterinary Business. With this increase, it is more important than ever that people learn how to interact safely with pets.

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If You Were Bitten by a Dog at Work, You Have Rights

By DiBella Law Offices on June 24, 2021

Two Airedale terriers sitting on a lawn

When you start your day at work, you deserve to feel safe and know that you will not be unexpectedly injured. But dog bites can happen anywhere nowadays, with more and more people out walking their pets through all areas of Boston. For workers who regularly visit their clients’ homes, there has been an uptick in dog bite injuries, especially when pet owners do not take proper steps to protect them.

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Dog Bite Claims and K9 Units

By DiBella Law Offices on April 3, 2020

german shephard K-9 bites

K9 units consist of law enforcement officers partnered with highly trained dogs. These canines are specially bred, chosen, and trained for their intelligence and acute sense of smell. K9 unit dogs can be indispensable in law enforcement for narcotics and weapons detection, searching for missing persons, and pursuing fugitives.

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Why You Should Not Approach Other People’s Dogs

By DiBella Law Offices on August 15, 2017

black lap puppy lying on the side of the street

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.

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When the Modern-Day Wolf Prowls at the Gate – Dog Attacks in Your Own Backyard

By DiBella Law Offices on March 20, 2017

dog with teeth shown chewing a red toy

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.

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Dog Bites – Who’s to Blame: the Dog, or the Owner?

By DiBella Law Offices on March 16, 2017

yellow dog in the park licking his own nose

Dogs bite.

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.

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