We all know that dog attacks can be painful and in some instances deadly. According to the CDC, more than 4.7 million people a year are bitten by dogs. There are about 800,000 people per year that seek medical attention for dog bites; Of those injured, 386,000 require treatment in an emergency department and about a dozen die. The CDC conducted a study on fatal dog bites to list the breeds that were most involved in fatal attacks over 20 years. It is important to mention, the CDC viewpoint on which dogs are more likely to bite or kill: "There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill".
Yesterday, the tragic dog mauling in California, of a Caretaker at actor Ving Rhames home resulted in death. Authorities said they could not be sure whether the dog mauling proved fatal or the victim suffered a heart attack. The 40 year old caretaker, who lived on the property and took care of the dogs, had worked for the actor for two years, Lt. Ray Lombardo said. Animal control officers dispatched to the home seized four canines — including three bullmastiffs and one English bulldog — that belong to Rhames, authorities said. The dogs were placed under quarantine pending the outcome of the investigation. But Lombardo said all indications were that the caretaker, who suffered multiple bite wounds, was fatally attacked by the mastiffs. They were described by authorities as "big as the lions at the circus." A pair of 200-pound mastiffs have been quarantined by Animal Control, along with two other dogs found on the property.
According Kenneth Phillips (Legal Blogger and author of Dog Bite Law) in a post on his Dog Bite Victim Log, Mr. Phillips on August 3, 2007 writes:
"While the family of the deceased might have a workers' compensation claim against Rhames, they probably cannot sue him for wrongful death. This is because canine professionals of all sorts are presumed to have assumed the risk of injury by dogs in their care -- at least where the dogs are of normal temperament. Only one year ago, the California Supreme Court reaffirmed this rule, which protects dog owners at the expense of groomers, walkers, petsitters, and others who are similarly engaged."
posted by Kenneth Phillips
While researching into dog bite laws, we came across a great organization, The Animal Law Web Center. They are responsible for the power house website, www.animallaw.info. This public interest site provides a wealth of information on laws regarding animals, by state, species and topic. This website is maintained and updated by the Michigan State University College of Law.
The owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners' knowledge of such viciousness. However, any negligence on the part of the person bitten that is a proximate cause of the biting incident reduces the liability of the owner of the dog by the percentage that the bitten person's negligence contributed to the biting incident. A person is lawfully upon private property of such owner within the meaning of this act when the person is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him or her by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when the person is on such property upon invitation, expressed or implied, of the owner. However, the owner is not liable, except as to a person under the age of 6, or unless the damages are proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of the owner, if at the time of any such injury the owner had displayed in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign easily readable including the words "Bad Dog." The remedy provided by this section is in addition to and cumulative with any other remedy provided by statute or common law.
Dog bites are serious and in an effort to educate the public, a group of organizations have come together, (the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the United States Postal Service, and the Centers for Disease Control) to work on educating the public about dog bite prevention. The third full week of May is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Become more aware of what you can do to promote saftey and how dog bite attacks can be prevented. We all must do our part and work together in helping mankind and dogs live together safely.