This post was reviewed by Nicholas A. Battaglia, Esq., an attorney licensed in New York and New Jersey. He is owner and legal content writer for a law practice marketing firm and a realty group focusing on new construction builds in upstate New York, where he lives with his lovely wife and his counselor-at-bark Flora, a mixed breed rescue.
If your dog bites someone through your fence, like if someone sticks out their hands, then your dog bit them, do you have a liability to the victim? The answer is yes. You are undeniably liable for the victim who was bitten by your dog.
As much as we love to play with our pet dogs in our backyards, there will always come a time where we left them unsupervised. Having an unsupervised dog could bring about many problems, so it is best to avoid doing so. It would be best if you also take many preventive measures to keep everyone around you safe.
And as much as we want to avoid it, outside stimuli may trigger your pet to be aggressive. You may know your pet to be well-behaved, but others don’t have the attitude to respect your pet. What if your pet bit someone’s sticking hand through the fence? Are you liable for it?
It may sound absurd as it seems because the incident is not your intention, but your dog is your responsibility. You assumed that responsibility when you first decided to be a pet owner. So whatever damage or injury your dog will make, you have to be liable for it.
Case Involving A Victim Who Was Bitten Through The Fence
Like what happened with the case of Bates v. Horkoff (1991), 119 A.R. 270 (QB). The plaintiff was a three-year-old child attending a nursery. The plaintiff got bitten by a dog through the dog owner’s fence (that was located just beside the daycare center) and suffered injuries requiring plastic surgery.
Then she filed a case against the dog owner, the nursery, the school, and its employees. The court held the dog owner liable and assessed the damage that the owner has to compensate the plaintiff, while the nursery, school, and staff got dismissed from the case.
In this case, the court held only the dog owner liable because of his negligence in keeping the dog. The nursery has no responsibility for the incident. Since the kid was in the nursery and the daycare worker was near the child, what are the responsibilities of each of the people included in this case?
Responsibilities And Duties
Everyone that has taken a job or someone that had acquired a life has a responsibility to uphold—making sure that the responsibilities and duties they take could cause not only their lives at peace but others also. So what are the responsibilities that we are talking about that you should keep in mind?
As A Dog Owner
Being a responsible dog owner doesn’t only go to the extent of loving your pet dog. Owning a dog is a commitment that you should give time and effort. So before you are going to decide on taking a dog in, you have to be sure that you can fully take the responsibilities and duties that come with it.
Having a dog is not like having a new cell phone or gadget that, whenever it misbehaves, you can send it back to get a new replacement. When your dog misbehaves, it is your responsibility to control it. It is your dog, after all. You wouldn’t want to call the pound now, would you?
When you decide to take a dog in, you should be committed to doing so in the long run. I mean, you and the dog will live long, so you should take on the challenges along with the expenses that come along with raising one. You should be able to provide its necessities for at least twelve to fifteen years and decide if you want to find them a new home.
Having a dog is like having to raise a child. The bond between a mother and child makes through time. So have time for your dog. You could either do fun activities with your dog as a bonding time. I know that all of has don’t have much time to bond with them because of work; make time to do so.
Always remember that when you are out, at work, having fun with your friends, or whatever activities you do outside, your dog is waiting for you to come home. Schedule a time each day for your dog. It could be either for exercise, grooming, or playing.
Like humans, taking a role in society requires you to have an identity. It is your right and responsibility to have one. So when it comes to having a pet, make sure to provide an identity for your dog. Many states have laws regarding pet identities that you should appropriately administer and obeyed.
Just think of it, what if your pet gets lost and your dog has no way to find a home? Or what if someone else found your dog? How on earth will they return him to you? It is where a collard with tags becomes handy. When having a tag attached to your dog’s collar, make sure to include your and the dog’s name, address, and contact number.
#4. Spay or neuter
More people are getting born every day. So why let your dog add to the numbers? Having them spayed or neutered is the right thing to do to prevent the overpopulation of dogs. Although if your dog has an excellent breed, be responsible for it.
Never be a backyard breeder. If you are a breeder, make sure to follow the proper protocols. The dog should be in a healthy position to be able to be bred. It would be best if you educated yourself on the breeding procedures with the help of a veterinarian.
Dog breeds with unknown genetic history or dogs with health problems should never breed. They could sometimes carry many diseases and health problems that could affect you or your neighborhood. So having them neutered or spayed could help you save lives.
#5. Keeping the dog healthy
As the owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that the dog is staying alive and healthy. To ensure this, always provide plenty of drinking water and the right diet for your dog. Maintaining a balanced healthy diet is the way to go but keep in mind to add exercise along with it.
Dogs may not say that they’re feeling sick or they’re experiencing some pain. It is your job to observe them. They may show signs of pain and illness and when they do, never hesitate to seek medical attention from the veterinarians; they sure know what to do.
Having a dog is more than cuddles and play, but you will also have to train them in the proper etiquette. Having a well-behaved dog will not only bring you joy, but you can rest assured that everyone around him is safe. You can either let them join you in rides and social gatherings, though I think dogs that are well behaved are most likely welcome.
If your dog is misbehaving and causes accidents of any sort, the owner must take full responsibility for it. That includes dog bites and damages that your dog may inflict on others. Having them trained before going out will prevent them from creating such unwanted accidents.
It is common knowledge to respect one another, which is the same when it comes to having a pet. We may know that our dog is a well-behaved one, but others don’t, so it is a must to know the things you should do with your dog while in public, and that includes the following:
#8. Leashes and fences
When outdoors, keep your dogs on a leash or put a fence around them. It is a precautionary measure if your dog tends to bite strangers. Your dog may bite someone if left unleashed and unsupervised. That may cost you compensations of many sorts when your dog has bitten a person.
#9. Dog’s mess
It is reasonable enough for you to pick up the things your dog left. What I am talking about is making sure to fix your dog’s poop. Nobody wants to step on a smelly dung first day in the morning. I’ve stepped one, and it feels aggravating. Always bring a trash bag whenever you’re out for walks.
Imagine having your best dream in the middle of your siesta after lunch disrupted by a dog’s continuous barking. I believe it wouldn’t be pleasant. Of course, who doesn’t get annoyed when disrupted from their sleep? So do not leave your dogs barking outside.
Kids may tend to get rowdy and are often very active when surrounded by many kids their age. As a preschool teacher, it is your responsibility to keep that rowdiness under control or use it as an advantage for the child’s education and fun learning. But what are their duties and responsibilities?
The primary duty of a nursery is to ensure the children’s education. One is to teach them basic knowledge like colors, shapes, and letters, and number recognition. That includes maintain their hygiene and observe the proper etiquette and social understandings of things.
#2. Health and wellbeing
Preschool teachers are also going to be their first doctors or guardians. Since most nurseries don’t allow parents to stay with their kids to learn independence, they are responsible for observing the kid’s growth and well-being.
The task includes evaluating the child’s performance, social behavior and identifying signs of emotional, physical, or health-related problems. They must report it to their parents and assess the situation. They may also offer efforts of help in any way the parent will agree.
The teacher also must ensure the safety of the children within her care. Remove any signs and traces of danger that may harm the kid. But what kid doesn’t get injured in the nursery, right?
Small accidents may happen, but that’s a part of the child’s growth. As long as there is no potential threat to the child’s safety, everything is OK.
Dog Owner’s Liability To Victim
So what If my dog bites someone sticking a hand through the fence? Can I be liable? The answer is yes. It is your liability to take full responsibility for it. As much as you would like to avoid it, all you can do now is accept the liability to the victim, and here are some of it.
A dog owner is liable if one or more of the following situations are proven to be true:
The dog owner could be liable, especially when the area or the states administered a strict law involving dog bite cases. These laws make the owners financially responsible for the dog bite’s injury regardless of any dog misbehaviors in the past.
#2. Past behaviors
If the victim can prove that there are histories that the dog has bitten someone or if the dog tends to bite someone, the law punishes the strict rule called the one-bite rule. This rule makes the dog owners liable for the injury, knowing the tendencies and misbehavior of their dog.
One of the most sought reasons to file the case against does owners is because of their negligence. It is because of their carelessness that the accident happened in the first place. Having this one proved is given a sure win in the case. For instance, the owner forgot to leash his pet, which is a sign of negligence.
How To Stop Dog Bites
If you want to prevent your dog from biting someone, you could use the following steps. Just a reminder, following these steps, cannot ensure you that your dog will not bite someone, but it is only preventive measures to help you prevent making a victim.
Step #1. Know the reason
The first thing you should do is to know the reason why dogs bite. Some of the reasons may include being threatened, provoked, or startled. Another is to try to defend themselves. It is essential to know who is interacting with your dog and what behaviors could you do to keep them from biting someone.
Step #2. Training
As a dog owner, you must take responsibility for training your dog and keeping them under control when time rises. Teaching them is one way to prevent your dog from biting someone. How would you do that? Here are some tips to help you out.
What you can do, is to put your dog through basic training at the least. It will teach your pet how to obey, stop and control themselves when you tell your pet. You could continue with the practice if you see the improvements your pets develop during the training period.
Socialize with your dog. Having the dog familiarize themselves with the people around them will help them establish trust and comfort around others. It would be best when your dog is still young and new. Socializing with your dog and allowing them to meet other people will remove their sense of fear when meeting new faces.
Observe and learn your dog’s body language. Learning will help you determine what the dog is about to do. It will only happen if you have observed your pet for a long time. Having learned your pet’s body language will also help you determine if your dog is about to bite someone; thus, you can prevent your pet from doing so.
Never try to discipline your dog by hitting and doing any physical violence against them. Your option is to have the canine positively reinforced. When training your dog, it tends to get docile and active if you give it treats to reward its good behavior.
Always keep your dog on a short leash, especially when walking in public places. You have to know your dog well to be able to let them go off-leashed in permitted areas. Keep watch on your dog always whenever you are outside. You want to prevent them from biting anyone, so it is best to keep an eye on them.
If you think that your dog has misbehaviors and is sometimes aggressive, always warn others. Do not let your dog approach others unless you have them totally under control. Be mindful of your dog’s tendencies and environment that may trigger the aggressiveness that could cause them to attack others.
Always keep your dog’s vaccinations updated. To prevent infection cases like Rabies from being transmitted when your dog accidentally bites someone. Check and visit your veterinarians regularly and keep up with their regular check-ups.
As A Victim
With all of this information known, what could you do if the dog bites you? What should you do? Listed here are some steps that you should follow when a dog bites you in your neighborhood or anywhere. Take these steps to ensure your safety.
Step #1. Ensure details
When you got injured by the dog, make sure to get the dog owner’s names and contact number. You may be thinking twice about asking for compensation, but to ensure that there is no problem the following day, take their info to get them liable if you have sustained further damage than what you think you had.
Take the details of any valuable witnesses too. It will serve as a backup version of the story. Some dog owners may fight about their negligence, so having someone back you up is to be done. It usually happens when you and the owner disagree on the liability.
Step #2. Take evidence
One of the pieces of evidence that you could take is to take a photo of the dog and the injury that you have sustained during the accident. You could also take pictures of some other things like an open fence gate to support your version of what happened.
Step #3. Seek medical attention at once
After the incident, if your injury is turning at worse, you should never hesitate to seek medical attention. Dog bites could infect you with Rabies. If the damage is severe enough, make sure to get treated right away. Keep the records and findings of the doctor and the hospital bills so that you can get compensation for it from the owner.
Step #4. Report the incident
Reporting the incident is, essential especially for dogs that have no license and tags on them. You may not know the owner in these cases, so reporting them to authorities may help you find responsible for it. Many cities keep the dog quarantined for some time to find out if it is rabid or not.
When To Speak With A Lawyer?
If you get bitten by a dog or someone else’s pet, consider talking with an injury attorney to determine if the local rules apply in your situation. Knowing the preceding regulations that govern the state that includes the dog bite helps win a case.
If that attorney determines that the dog is dangerous, you can consult an animal attorney to prevent anything terrible from happening. There may be some charges that may apply, so you should go and consult one. You may also save time and money and have compensated by the ones liable.
So what If my dog bites someone sticking a hand through the fence? Can I be liable? Of course, you are. Every pet liability goes to the pet owner. That is especially true when your pet has injured or caused damages to anyone. So to prevent one from having such penalties, it is crucial to have your pet under control.
If a dog bite occurs, all you have to do is stay calm and isolate your dog. Help the victim and be sympathetic to the victim bitten by your dog. Seek professional medical care and never be aggressive to the victim; this may result from your lawsuit as well. Just think, what if this happens to you. Put yourself in the shoe of the victim.