Dogs are human’s best friends, right? In some circles they’re become a replacement for children, being called “granddoggies” and “dog children” by owners’ parents and owners respectively. This seems to make people forget that dogs are still animals and don’t have the logical reasoning that people do.
Maybe the two German shepherds were not being good dog children when they attacked their owner and a friend in Whitman on Monday. The two women had bites all over their arms and legs, with one woman having multiple bites on her torso as well, according to The Enterprise. The dogs have been quarantined since the attack and will be so for a total of 10 days.
Will the owner be liable for her friend’s injuries?
A person who keeps wild animals is always liable for any harm caused by the animal, even if reasonable precautions are taken. However, it is generally the case that if a dog has never been violent before and there was no reason to expect the dog to be dangerous that there will be no owner liability.
In Massachusetts there is no such get out of jail provision. If your dog bites someone, you will be liable for any harm or damage done by the animal. The only way to avoid liability is if the person who was harmed was trespassing on your property or taunting the dog.
Here, it's clear that there was no trespassing involved, because it was the owner and her friend who were at the home. The question remains whether the friend was harassing the dogs and then the owner attempted to stop the attack, or whether something else riled the dogs up. When that question is answered, we'll know whether the owner will owe the friend for her hospital bills.
In the meantime, be aware that no matter if you have German shepherds or a Shih-Tzu, if your dog child bites someone, you will be liable.
- Need a Boston Personal Injury Attorney? (FindLaw)
- Dog/Animal Bites - FAQ (FindLaw)
- Dog Bite Tips: How to Prevent Your Dog From Biting (FindLaw's Boston Personal Injury News)