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Dog Bites

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 22, 2015

We know that many people in our society today treat their pets as well (or better) than they would their own children. They pamper them with spa treatments, drop them off at fancy pet hotels, feed them gourmet foods and treats and even have them wear "cute" outfits.

As the owner of several dogs myself, I know personally the joy they can bring into our lives. But along with the joy of pet ownership comes the legal responsibility of keeping those pets from causing harm or injury to other people.

The Legal Liability of an Animal Owner

The law recognizes different breeds of dogs and different types of animals as holding different levels or standards of liability to their owners for causing injury or harm.

Vicious or Inherently dangerous Animals

In some jurisdictions, certain breeds of dogs are considered inherently dangerous. This means that if these animals cause injuries through a bite or attack, the law assumes their owners are at fault for the damages.

These types of dogs include, but are not limited to, pit bulls, rottweilers, bull mastiffs, bulldogs and more domestic breeds that may have been trained to "be vicious."

Also in this group are more unusual or exotic animals such as snakes and large parrots, which can also cause severe injuries.

Domestic Animals

This group of animals usually includes the more tame pet, like your friendly Labrador or Golden Retriever.

The law also recognizes the responsibility of an animal owner in this category, but the victim must often prove that he did not cause or contribute to the attack by harassing or abusing the animal or placing him or herself, in "harm's way" (like getting in the middle of a fight between two dogs).