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Sacramento Dog Bite Injury Attorney Explains Why Dogs Attack Kids

Whenever an individual encounters an animal, there is always the chance for unpredictable behavior and subsequent injury, even when the animal is tame and has a history of being friendly. Dogs have been a man’s best friend for years but it is important to remember that dogs are still animals and in fact, most dog bites involve an animal known to the injured party. If your child has been injured from a dog attack, make sure to speak with a Sacramento dog bite injury attorney.

Two things must be established to create a case of liability should an individual incur injury due to a dog bite:

  • The person’s injury was incurred by the dog whose owner is the defendant
  • The plaintiff was on public property or on private property with permission of the dog owner

The exception to the above rules is if the dog involved is a police animal in the line of duty. Whenever local police or other government entities are involved in personal injury cases, the complications can get tricky so speak with a Sacramento dog bite injury attorney for your case.

Children are especially at risk for being victims of a dog bite. Because of their age, they don’t understand all the risk to their behaviors and tend to engage in unfamiliar circumstances to satisfy their curiosity. Unfortunately, this curiosity can result in very serious consequences. Below are some staggering statistics on dog bites in children populations:

  • The CDC estimates half of children under 12 have been bitten by a dog
  • 79% of fatal dog attacks are on children
  • Nearly half of all deaths by dog bites are in children under 2
  • 82% of dog bites treated in an emergency room involve children under 15
  • Boys under 15 are more likely than girls of the same age to incur a dog bite
  • Children under 14 are at a higher risk for dog bite injuries
  • Children between 5 and 9 have a dramatically higher risk for dog bite injuries
  • Half of all dog bites happen to children under 8
  • 65% of dog bites in children occur to the head and neck
  • Unsupervised newborns are 370 times more likely to be killed by a dog than an adult is
  • Over 87% of children who die from being bitten occur when the child was left unsupervised with a dog or when the child wandered off to the location of the dog

How do these bites occur?

Young children haven’t learned to be cautious, especially if they have interacted with that particular dog or another dog in a positive way in the past. Some possible behavior or events that may trigger a dog bite include the following:

  • Teasing in a playful way
  • Unintentional provocation
    • Approaching a dog when it’s sleeping or eating
    • High energy levels of a child or children may scare the dog or overwhelm it
    • Children, especially infants, do not have any defense against an angry or scared dog

Usually when an individual files a claim against an individual for injury, the plaintiff must establish that their behavior was reasonable and responsible. In the state of California, it is not necessary to prove that a child under 5, who has been bitten by a dog, acted with due care. This is because young children are not capable of understanding when they must act with special care so as not to get hurt, as parents well know. Even if a dog has a good reputation and no previous aggressive behavior, pet owners have certain responsibilities for their pets and may be held liable should a dog bite occur, even if they took due diligence in preventing a bite. It is important to emphasize that these rules and liability laws relate specifically to dog bites. Other injuries caused by a pet such as scratches may result in cases of negligence, but separate from dog bites. Speaking with a Sacramento dog bite injury attorney is the best first course of action to take pertaining to your specific case.

In even more severe cases, such as when a dog is legally considered “vicious” or “dangerous,” criminal charges may be brought against the owner.

“Dangerous” dogs are classified by one or more of the following:

  • A history of aggressive behavior that has resulting in defensive action by the attacked person on two or more separate occasions in the 36 months prior to the incident
    • Must not have occurred on the owner’s property
  • Has bitten another person, unprovoked, even if the injury was not severe
  • Has bitten, injured, or killed a domestic animal at least twice within the past 36 months
    • Must not have occurred on the owner’s property

A dog is considered “vicious” if it has any of the following properties:

  • Is owned by a person who has been convicted of an offense related to illegal dog-fighting
  • Has aggressively injured or killed a human being
  • Has been listed as a “dangerous” dog, but whose owner(s) did not adhere to the Food and Agriculture Code’s precautions on keeping dangerous dogs

If an owner of a “dangerous” or “vicious” dog allows the animal to roam or in any other way fails to use reasonable care to protect others and prevent injury, this individual may be charged with a felony if the dog kills a person who has acted with all reasonable precaution. Short of death, a dog owner may still be charged with a felony or misdemeanor. As children under 5 are exempt from exhibiting reasonable care or caution, this does not need to be proved in these cases.

Speak with a Sacramento Dog Bite Injury Attorney About Your Injury Case

A dog biting a child can be a devastating thing for any parent to experience. If your child has been injured from a dog attack, speak with our Sacramento dog bite injury attorney for a free consultation.

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