Dog Bite Liability and Children

Dog Bite Liability and Children

The Fifth District Court of Appeal of Florida ruled on an important issue concerning dog bite liability and children. In the case of Porter v. Allstate Insurance Company, the Porter family filed a lawsuit on behalf of their four-year-old son who was injured during a dog attack. The victim, Michael Porter, was accused of pulling on the dog’s ears immediately before the attack. In court, this conduct can be classified as provoking a dog, a known statutory defense in a dog bite case. Legal Accountability of Children Under common law, a child under six years of age is legally incapable of being negligent. The lawsuit discussed whether a child can be considered to be comparatively negligent for provoking a dog in a careless or mischievous manner. Comparative negligence refers to the victim’s actions or behaviors which may have contributed to the injury in question. The court ultimately held that, despite common law, dog bite liability based on statute generally applies to children in the same manner that it applies to adults. Contrary to Harris v. Moriconi, a First District Court of Appeal opinion on a similar issue, the Porter court found that a child could be comparatively negligent for carelessly or mischievously provoking a dog. Florida Dog Bite Liability Florida’s dog bite liability statute (statute 767.04) states that in most cases, the dog’s owner is liable for any injury that his or her dog causes to another person. This liability falls on the owner regardless of whether or not the dog has been previously identified as dangerous. This statute differs from some other states, where the injured individual must prove that the dog was a known risk. While this Florida statute holds true for a number of dog attack cases, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Mischievous Provocation […]

Dog Bites and Children

Dog Bites and Children

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated half of the 4.5 million dog bites each year involve children. Specifically, children between ages five and nine are significantly more likely to receive medical attention from dog bites. Parents and dog owners remain alert and aware in order to prevent dog bites in children. Parents can also prevent dog bites in children by educating themselves and their children best practices for meeting, playing with, and handling dogs. Dog Bites and Children Statistics The American Humane Association reports that: Roughly half of dog bites each year occur in children under age 12 82 percent of emergency room dog bite cases involved children under age 15 70 percent of deaths from dog bite attacks occur in children under age 10 Boys under 15 years old experience more dog bites than girls of equal age 65 percent of dog bites in children occur in the child’s neck or head Unsupervised newborns are 370 times more likely to die of a dog bite attack than adults Why Do Dogs Bite Children? There are several theories to explain why dogs bite children. Many experts believe the smaller stature and generally more erratic behavior of children are contributing factors. As a result, children may be more likely to trigger the prey drive of a dog. Additionally, children display a heightened projection of energy when dealing with dogs and in general. A child’s overtly excited behavior may result in an accidental dog bite from becoming too rowdy. Likewise, a child’s fearful behavior may result in an aggressive dog bite in reaction to perceived fear and potential danger. Preventing Dog Bites in Children Children can help to prevent dog bites by practicing the following behaviors around dogs: Always asking the dog’s owner before petting an unfamiliar […]

Dog Bite Liability

Dog Bite Liability

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 4.7 million dog bites occur each year. Out of these 4.7 million dog bites, an estimated 800,000 result in injury that requires medical attention. Dog bite liability becomes an important issue when dog bites lead to injuries. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that more than 16,000 dog bite claims were filed in 2012. Dog bites are estimated to account for roughly one-third of homeowners’ insurance liability claims in the United States. Determining Dog Bite Liability Generally speaking, the dog’s owner is liable for dog bite injuries when the owner was aware of the dog’s tendency to cause an injury. Dog owners may also hold dog bite liability in cases where their negligent or careless behavior contributed to the dog bite injury. Certain state statutes may also impose strict liability on the dog’s owner whether or not the owner was aware of or directly responsible for the dog bite. State Dog Bite Liability Laws All states have laws dictating certain circumstances where owners are legally responsible for injuries caused by their dogs. These dog bite laws vary from state to state. Therefore, determining dog bite liability is often dependent on the state in which the dog bite injury occurs. It should be noted that in several states, dog bite liability does not apply when injuries are caused by the dog acting playfully. There are several types of laws that are in place to regulate dog bite liability. Types of dog bite liability laws include: Dog bite liability statutes. Dog bite statutes typically impose dog bite liability on the dog’s owner regardless of the circumstances of the situation. In these cases, the dog’s tendencies or provocation do not typically play a role in determining dog bite liability. “One-bite” rule. […]

Kids and Dogs at Friends’ Houses

Kids and Dogs at Friends’ Houses

When your children visit friends who have a family dog, the situation may be difficult. The main reason for this is that you most likely have little to no control over the dog or its behavior. The dog may have aggressive tendencies, poor training and behavior, or a distaste for children. As a parent, it is important to teach your children from an early age how to behave around dogs. This is especially important for behaving around unfamiliar dogs. By instilling dog safety in your kids, you can play an indirect role in situations that you may not be able to control in the future. Kids and Dogs First and foremost, kids should learn to respect all dogs and their boundaries. It’s no secret that most children enjoy playing, which tends to include roughhousing. A common issue with kids and dogs occurs when a child becomes too unintentionally aggressive or rowdy with a dog. Some dogs are simply not receptive to this behavior. Lesson 1: Dogs Are Not Toys One of the most important lessons a child can learn is that dogs are not toys. Therefore, they cannot be treated like toys. Kids should learn as soon as possible that tail pulling, hitting, and smothering are not acceptable ways to show affection to a dog. By respecting a dog’s personal space, the chances of an altercation between kids and dogs are significantly reduced. Lesson 2: Learn How Dogs Communicate Children should also learn how to read a dog’s body language. A wagging tail generally means that it’s okay to proceed with caution. Growling, downward-pointing ears, or licking their chops should be a red flag. When dogs are playing and excitement gets too intense, kids should learn to back away to avoid getting caught in the middle. Safety Tips for Kids […]

Preventing Dog Fights

Preventing Dog Fights

Dog fights have serious consequences. Unfortunately, they are common occurrences. The problem of dog on dog attacks needs to be considered by owners of dogs that bite. In addition, owners of seemingly docile dogs need to be aware of the warning signs before a dog fight, so they may avoid getting caught up in a bad situation. How to Prevent Dog Fights To prevent dog fights, it is important that owners are able to respond to a dog-fighting-dog situation. By reading the mood of a dog, identifying common triggers of aggression, and handling dog fights appropriately, it is possible to safely and quickly stop dog on dog attacks. Warning Signs of Dog Fights Step one of preventing dog on dog attacks is to identify the warning signs of aggressive dog behavior. Pet owners are responsible for spotting agitated behavior in their own dogs. With dogs that bite, fights will occur more frequently. Stiffness, raised hackles, and lip curls are all signs that a dog is not okay and preparing to act on its feelings. Spotting these signs early helps prevent dog fights. Many pet owners already know what might upset their dog. The absence of a favorite toy, sharing a food bowl, or even the presence of other dogs may instigate dog on dog attacks. In addition, some dogs are very protective of their family. If another person or dog approaches a family member very quickly, or in a threatening manner, the dog may attack. Prior to attacking, however, the dog will likely bare its teeth and give a warning growl. Know How to React Many dog fights start off noisy and harmless. It can take a while before they become truly violent, which is why it is so important to stop dog fights quickly, before they escalate out of […]

Safety Tips for Babies and Dogs

Safety Tips for Babies and Dogs

A newborn baby brings change to a home. These changes apply to everyone – even the family dog. After adjusting to new household dynamics, many pets come to appreciate these additions. Until this time, prevalent dangers between a baby and dog are numerous. Some of the worst threats are dog bites. Safety for Babies and Dogs Knowledge of safety tips for babies enables parents to prevent harmful interactions. It is possible to avoid dog bites by preparing a dog for the new arrival, making a home secure and teaching a child how to interact with the pet. It also establishes an environment that promotes safety for babies. Prepare the Dog The person is a dog’s master. These roles are especially important in the nine months before a newborn arrives. This is the time to correct problem behaviors like jumping on laps, sitting, staying, and more. It is also the time to work on dog bite prevention. Once the baby arrives, having a home that promotes safety for babies begins. From the first introduction it is important to control the engagement between a baby and pet. To make this easy, try to have the meeting take place when the dog is tired, and not easily excitable. Prepare the Home There are many protective measures and safety tips for babies. In homes with dogs, preparation includes setting boundaries and establishing routine. It is recommended to use physical barriers that train a dog to stay out of the baby’s room or play area. This will decrease the possibility of dog bites. These changes can make a dog restless. To ease a family pet into this new environment, establish a routine that ensures the dog gets one-on-one attention. Routine supports measures of safety for babies and keep dogs feeling loved. Prepare the Baby Before long […]