While many people believe there are certain “dangerous breeds” that have a propensity to behave aggressively, the truth is that any dog can bite. In fact, according to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States each year.
Of those, about 20 percent—or one in five—receive a dog bite injury serious enough to require medical attention. Of the 800,000 people seeking medical care for dog bites each year, about half are children, making them the most at-risk group.
Sometimes, a dog bite might require stitches or basic medical treatment, but other times, a vicious dog attack can lead to permanent scarring or disfigurement; loss of eyes, limbs, or appendages; or even death.
In Kentucky, dog owners (and even landlords allowing dogs on their premises) may be held liable for any injuries that occur as a result of a dog bite by an improperly restrained dog or by a dog who behaves aggressively toward guests to the property. Therefore, if you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by someone else’s dog, contact a Louisville dog bite attorney to discuss your rights and options for filing an injury claim.
“Dangerous Breed” Dogs
Every dog has the capacity to behave aggressively and to bite, especially if provoked or threatened. However, a bite from a small dog will likely not do as much damage as a bite from a larger, stronger breed. Certain breeds, though not necessarily associated with the most bites, are often associated with the most serious bites, and therefore are considered “dangerous breeds” by some.
Organizations such as the ASPCA are against breed-specific legislation, which they say compromises the safety of dogs, dog owners, and the general public by taking focus off of proper care, training, socialization and restraint of animals and instead puts a blanket ban on animals which may be perfectly safe if handled appropriately.
On the other hand, insurers know that if certain breeds behave aggressively, the injuries can be severe, and the property owners’ insurance claims can be costly. According to Forbes, insurance companies often deny insurance to homeowners and renters who own the following breeds of dogs:
- Pit Bulls and Staffordshire Terriers
- Doberman Pinschers
- German Shepherds
- Great Danes
- Presa Canarios
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Siberian Huskies
- Wolf Hybrids
If an insurer fails to provide coverage for the owner of a “risky” breed, it can be difficult for a person who has been bitten by the dog to get compensation for their injuries. Having an attorney fighting on their behalf can maximize the potential for financial recovery following a dog bite injury.
Dog Bite Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), minor dog bite wounds may be successfully treated by thoroughly cleaning the wound and applying antibiotic ointment to the injury. However, even the most minor puncture wound can quickly turn serious if the injury becomes infected or if the dog who bit is diseased.
Diseases associated with animal bites, and dog bites in particular, include the following:
- Rabies, a virus that affects the brain and is almost always fatal. Immediate treatment after being bitten by a rabid animal can help prevent a person from developing rabies.
- Capnocytophaga, which is a type of bacteria that can sicken someone with a compromised immune system.
- Pasturella, a bacteria present in nearly half of all dog bites that can cause pain, swollen glands, and joint problems.
- MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections if it spreads to the lungs or bloodstream.
- Tetanus, which is caused by a bacteria and often occurs with deep puncture wounds. Tetanus can cause paralysis if not treated.
Violent dog attacks often require emergency medical care for treatment of blood loss and serious traumatic injuries, but even “minor” bites may cause lifelong difficulties.
Dog Owners Are Liable
Currently law in Kentucky holds dog owners to a strict standard of liability if their dog bite someone. In short, if you are the victim of a dog bite, then the owner is going to be held responsible. In addition to helping you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries resulting from a dog bite, your Louisville dog bite attorney can also determine if the dog’s history of behavior makes the owner further liable for punitive damages as well.
Contact a Louisville Dog Bite Attorney Today
We know that as a dog bite victim you can suffer not only from medical expenses and physical pain, but also from the stress of coming into contact with a dog in the future. These are stresses for which you deserve to be compensated. Talk to an experienced Louisville dog bite attorney to find out how you can hold a dog owner liable for the injuries his or her pet inflicted.