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.
Beware of These Dogs
It’s an unpopular opinion with some, but we know that there are certain dog breeds that are more often associated with aggressive, dangerous behavior. If these pets injure another person in Massachusetts, their owners can be held liable, and the victim or victim’s family may be able to collect compensation in the aftermath of an attack. While you can’t predict how an aggressive breed of dog will act every time, you can be on the lookout and extra cautious when you encounter certain ones. At least ten dogs you’ll want watch out for include:
- German Shepherds
- American Pit Bull Terriers
- Siberian Huskies
- Doberman Pinschers
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Chow Chow
Signs of Aggression in Dogs
There is a common misconception that aggression from a dog begins at the point of an attack, but there are warning signs to look out for. For the sake of safety, it is important for both owners and bystanders to recognize when a dog is becoming aggressive so that corrective or self-protective actions can be taken. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a wide range of behaviors for aggression can include:
- Stiffness in a dog’s body language
- Low-sounding, threatening barks or louder growls
- Leaping towards another person or animal
- Mouthing that might intensify
- Baring teeth
- Various kinds of bites that may be quick, repeated, and prolonged
There are many different reasons behind the aggressive behavior of dogs, as pointed out by the ASPCA. These include guarding territory, protecting their owners, guarding belongings or food, fear of being trapped in a tight space, frustration from being restrained, physical pain, competition for a mate during reproductive seasons, and instinctive predatory behavior.
An Owner’s Responsibility in Preventing Dog Attacks
Taking steps towards responsible dog ownership begins early in the process of owning a pet. It includes being mindful of the timing of bringing one home, healthy socialization, training, not putting the pet in situations where it can be provoked and antagonized. This also means properly securing it, at home in a fenced area and on a leash when walking it in a neighborhood. This does not guarantee that an already aggressive breed of dog will not attack, but they may reduce the likelihood of that happening.
Under the Dog Bite Statute in Massachusetts, a dog owner can be held responsible for injuries their animal causes another person or property. The injured person must not be found to be provoking the pet at the time of the attack, and the victim must also not be discovered to be trespassing or other laws. Furthermore, according to “strict liability” in the state, the owner of a dog can be held responsible for injuries even if he or she can make the case that the dog was properly secured.
We've offered crucial support and guidance to individuals who have suffered injuries, ensuring their financial and emotional well-being.
When you find yourself in an attack, you need to know what to do in the moment. Public health officials in Boston have highlighted how to respond, and they include:
- Putting an object like a purse or jacket between yourself and the dog.
- Curling into a ball and protecting sensitive areas like your head, ears, and neck with your hands.
- Cleaning wounds with soap and water as soon as you are safe.
- Seeking medical attention immediately to prevent serious infection.
Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a dog attack and its owner was responsible, then you need a Boston dog bite attorney who has handled similar cases in Massachusetts to pursue all rightful compensation on your behalf. You could be entitled to having medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and other costs covered. Your injuries can be severe and the length of your recovery time may be uncertain, so make sure not to delay in getting the help you need.
Call us at (617) 870-0907 to schedule a free consultation. We can evaluate your case and tell you what damages you may be entitled to claim.