Unfortunately, young children are often dog bite victims. They may approach a dog or make the dog feel uneasy, particularly if that dog has a tendency to be aggressive. Dog owners do have an obligation to take reasonable action to ensure that their dog does not attack someone. While dog owners can take precautions, such as obeying the state’s leash laws and keeping a dog fenced in a yard, accidents can still happen.
Owning a dog can be a wonderful experience, after all, they are called man’s best friend. Still, even the kindest dogs can become aggressive without the proper training. Unfortunately, children hold the highest risk for dog bites as they can prove a dog without knowing it. No matter what the cause, all dog bite cases in Florida are a matter of strict liability. If a dog attacks and inures someone, the owner is responsible, whether they knew the dog was dangerous or not.
If you have been attacked by a dog or another animal, don’t hesitate to call the Tampa dog bite lawyers at Ligori & Sanders, Attorneys at Law. In 2007 alone, 17,573 people were injured by dogs in Florida. While some bites are minor and may not require medical care, a serious dog bite may result in scarring, infection and disfigurement. A serious dog attack may even be fatal.
Not only can dog bites leave physical scars, they can emotionally traumatize children, who may forever fear dogs. On top of the cost of medical bills, additional counseling may be required. This can make dog bites especially stressful, and you may be reluctant to sue if the dog owner was a friend. Having a lawyer on your side can simplify the situation. Let the dog bite attorneys at Ligori & Sanders, Attorneys at Law do what’s in the best interest of all parties involved.
Our legal team has a thorough understanding of Florida dog bite laws and how to protect victims in their claims and lawsuits. In many cases, the dog owner will have homeowners’ insurance of some kind and this will cover the payment of any financial damages. However, we can review your particular case and determine where we can recover compensation from, as well as what your unique case is worth.
Safety Tips for Children
As reported by the Center for Disease Control
- Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Do not run from a dog or scream.
- Remain motionless (e.g., “be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
- If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g., “be still like a log”).
- Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
- Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
- Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
- Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
- If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.
As a dog owner, it’s important to remember that you have a responsibility both to your dog and to the community. Having a dog can be fun and exciting, after all they are often called man’s best friend. But, when handled incorrectly it can result in painful experiences for you, as well as others. In Florida, dog owner’s are liable for any damage their dog does to persons, domestic animals or livestock. This is called strict liability. The CDC makes several suggestions for ways in which you can be a responsible dog owner.
Tips for Dog Owners
- Consult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder) to learn what breeds of dogs are the best fit for your household.
- Dogs with histories of aggression are not suitable for households with children.
- Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful or apprehensive about a dog. If a child seems frightened by dogs, wait before bringing a dog into your household.
- Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into a household with an infant or toddler.
- If you decide to bring a dog into your home:
- Spay/neuter your dog (this often reduces aggressive tendencies). Never leave infants or young children alone with a dog.
- Don’t play aggressive games with your dog (e.g., wrestling). Properly socialize and train any dog entering your household.
- Teach the dog submissive behaviors (e.g., rolling over to expose the abdomen and giving up food without growling).
- Immediately seek professional advice (e.g., from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders) if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.