Unleashed: When a Dog Bites, Who’s Legally Responsible?

3 December 2013
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Dog is man’s best friend. Nothing proves that better than the uproar caused by killing off the Brian character in Family Guy, sparking the #BringBackBrian hashtag internetwide.

But seriously, we do love dogs. There are specialty boutiques for dog clothes, toys, and food, and just about every U.S. city has dedicated parks for dogs. Even if you don’t own a dog, all of our lives intersect with dogs constantly. So what happens when things go wrong? It seems there are always dog bite incidents in the news these days. Sometimes ones that end tragically:


Last year, more than 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery due to dog bites (source).  After the wounds have been stitched, how do we get to the bottom of the situation legally? Who’s to blame? The owner, the dog? And who will pay? We outline the specifics of the Rhode Island law in an earlier post and we encourage you to take a look. Whether or not you’re a dog owner, or if you’ve ever experienced a dog bite incident, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the complex laws surrounding dog bites, because you never know when the situation might become “unleashed.”

Have you ever been bitten by a dog, or are you the owner of a dog who has bitten someone? Share your stories in the comments field below.


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