Most dogs seem friendly, but sometimes dogs can bite, causing severe and even fatal injuries. The Centers for Disease Control reports that between 1997 and 1998, dog bite attacks caused at least 27 deaths, with four of them in California. You can reduce your risk of a dog bite injury by knowing the breeds most likely to bite. If you were bitten by a dog recently, our Inland Empire dog bite lawyer at Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. can answer any legal questions you have.
Pit bull bites and attacks hit the news more frequently than any other breed. Dogsbite.org reports that from 2005 to 2014, pit bulls were responsible for the deaths of more than 200 people in the US. For example, in 2014, a 10-year-old boy in New Jersey suffered severe injuries when his parent’s two pit bulls attacked him.
When you hear the term ‘pit bull,’ it refers to the American Staffordshire Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier. Both breeds were first developed for fighting, with bulldogs and terriers bred together. While some say both species are unfairly demonized, the fact remains that of 88 fatal dog attacks reported between 2006 and 2008, pit bulls caused 52%.
Doberman Pinschers became more popular in the 1970s, and more dog attacks involved the breed. For example, a Doberman in New York City killed a family’s eight-month-old boy in 2008 while sleeping on a blanket. According to neighbors, the animal clamped its jaws around the boy’s head and killed him. However, the AKC reports that most Dobermans can be obedient, loyal, and affectionate.
Many consider Great Danes large, lovable, and gentle dogs. But Great Danes have been known to attack people occasionally. That is why Vetstreet says anyone with a Great Dane should get trained early against jumping and acting aggressively. Their large size also can cause them to accidentally knock people over.
The AKC says that Rottweilers make excellent herders, police, and therapy dogs. They also are protective of what they believe is their territory. Some dog breeders say that Rottweilers can be aggressive and should regularly receive obedience training, daily exercise, and socialization.
When Rottweilers attack, the injuries can be severe. In 2013, a high school student in Atlanta required reconstructive surgery after a Rottweiler attacked her.
These dogs are naturally aggressive and strong-willed, so these large animals need regular training and socialization with strangers. When they do not get enough training, they can bite and attack people they do not know.
Wolf dogs are a hybrid between a wolf and another breed. So, it is not a surprise that they can be highly aggressive. A recent study found that wolf dogs caused bodily harm to more than 80 people, and 19 were fatal injuries.
A Chow Chow in South Carolina was put down in 2012 after it attacked a small boy riding his bicycle. The boy was not a stranger and played with the dog often. However, he suffered severe facial injuries that required staples and stitches.
Chow Chows are best known for their scowling expression, thick coat, and black tongue. The Chow Chow can be aggressive toward strange dogs to protect its human family.
Dog Breeds Most Often Banned By Homeowners Insurance Companies
If a dog attacks someone, it is common for the owner’s homeowners insurance policy to pay for the person’s injuries and other losses. That is why some homeowners insurance companies maintain lists of banned dogs, meaning the insurance company will not provide coverage if that breed is in the home. Not every insurance company has a list of banned breeds, but many do.
Forbes recently analyzed banned dog lists from 40 homeowners insurance providers and found the following breeds were most often forbidden. The percentage represents the number of insurance companies that prohibited that breed:
- Doberman Pinscher: 100%
- Pitbull: 100%
- Rottweiler: 100%
- Chow Chow: 100%
- Wolf dogs: 93%
- Akita: 79%
- German Shepherd: 45%
- Husky: 38%
- Mastiff: 29%
- Alaskan Malamute: 26%
- Bullmastiff: 24%
What To Know About California Dog Bite Laws
People who live in California should understand the state’s dog bite laws regarding civil and criminal liability. First, California has a ‘strict liability’ dog bite law that makes the pet owner responsible for most injuries caused by dog bites. If you sue the owner for compensation for your injuries, it is irrelevant if the owner knew their animal had ever bitten someone. So, they cannot argue that they were unaware that their dog was aggressive.
However, California’s strict liability law has some limits. The owner is only strictly liable if the injured party was bitten in a public place or legally in a private place when the bite occurred. This includes the owner’s property.
Note that the state’s strict liability dog bite law will not help if the dog injured you but did not bite you. For example, suppose the dog ran up to attack you on your bike, and you fell and broke your arm. However, you may be compensated if you prove the owner’s negligence caused the injury.
Also, if you trespass on someone’s property, the state’s dog bite laws do not protect you. The strict liability dog bite law in California only applies if the person was on public property or lawfully on private property.
Next, the law states that the person must be on the dog owner’s property at their implied or express invitation. This generally means that the owner will not be strictly liable if you were bitten by the dog and trespassing at the time. It might be possible that the trespasser could hold the owner responsible if they can prove the owner was negligent, but proving this is challenging.
Contact Our Inland Empire Dog Bite Lawyer Today
If someone else’s dog bit you or a loved one, you should not simply pay your medical bills out of pocket and forget about it without speaking to an attorney first. You could be entitled to compensation for your losses. Contact our Inland Empire dog bite lawyer at Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. for assistance at (888) 883-6588.