Few things are as scary as being attacked (or seeing a loved one being attacked) by an aggressive animal. It is even more frightening when it happens in your own neighborhood and the attacking animal is someone else’s pet. Yet each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans are severely injured by dog bites and attacks.
We are not immune from the problem here in Delaware. A few months ago, in fact, the Delaware News Journal ran a story about “out of control” pit bulls in various cities throughout the state. What the article fails to stress, however, is that the breed of a dog is far less relevant than how it is treated, socialized and managed by its owners. When dog bites occur, dog owners are ultimately to blame.
Pit bulls have gained a reputation as “inherently” dangerous and aggressive, and statistics show that they are more likely to cause serious injury or death when they do attack. But it is not clear if they are more likely to bite or if they are just more efficient at attacking. Indeed, many irresponsible owners who buy pit bulls do so because they want an aggressive guard dog, and then socialize the animal to act that way.
The news article does mention several responsibilities which dog owners need to take seriously in order to keep their pets from attacking others. They include taking reasonable precautions such as:
- Getting the dog spayed or neutered (to reduce aggression)
- Getting the dog vaccinated (to avoid spreading infection if it bites)
- Training and properly socializing the dog
- Attending to the dog’s nutrition and overall wellbeing
- Keeping the dog properly confined on your property and on a leash when off property
- Keeping the dog out of stressful situations that could provoke an attack
There will likely always be some controversy over whether certain breeds of dogs should be banned for being too aggressive or dangerous. But no matter which side of the issue you are on, it is important to remember that dog owners bear the ultimate responsibility for how their dogs behave. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a dog attack due to owner negligence, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options for seeking compensation.