Even though California has many laws - and several court opinions - that say owners of dangerous dogs may be criminally liable if their dogs attack or bite others, the truth of the matter is that dog owners rarely face criminal charges.
A 4 year old boy who sustained severe dog bites has a lot to be thankful for, after a bystander's heroic act of bravery fended off the dog thereby preventing further injury to the boy. The remarkable part of the story is the brave bystander being a tabby cat. The cat, named Tara, was captured on security camera on May 13 when she pounced on a dog that attacked her 4-year-old owner Jeremy Triantafilo. The video, which has garnered 21 million views on YouTube, shows the dog biting and attempting to drag the boy. Within seconds, Tara leapt onto the dog, and in a flurry of hair and nails chased the canine away.
A debate among state lawmakers highlighted some of the key issues in determining who is the responsible party when a dog bites a human. State laws on dog bite liability vary widely across the country, reflecting different viewpoints on the duties of a dog owner. On one side are those who support what is essentially strict liability for dog owners - they must be held responsible no matter the circumstances when their dog bites another person. Strict liability means there is only one question - did the dog bite the human? If the answer is yes the owner is held responsible.
When it comes to dog bites, this blog traditionally focuses on the victims of attacks and the avenues of legal recovery they can pursue. It is equally important to advise dog owners on insurance matters to ensure that should an attack happen, victims have a sufficient source of recovery, and dog owners have insurance to provide defense and pay for the victim's damages.
After his large Akita dog viciously attacked a child in a local Murrieta Lowes earlier this year, Robert Kahn was arrested this month on charges of felony negligence. The young victim-who approached the dog to pet him after being invited by the dog's owner-needed an astonishing 50 stitches to close the gaping facial injury and wounds resulting from the dog bites. The story doesn't stop there; the Murrieta Lowes was well-known for allowing dog owners to let their dogs roam freely around the store, leash or no leash, and had no rules or regulations regarding dogs posted whatsoever.