What is “Dog Fright” and Liability for Yappy Injuries

Nicholas A. Battaglia
Reviewer Details

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.

Do you know what “dog fright” and liability for yappy injuries are? The former is a condition wherein a person fears dogs due to a certain reason. Simultaneously, the latter has something to do with the owner’s state of responsibility towards a person whose dog has been injured.

Indeed, fear is common to all human beings. The truth is, everybody, fears something. However, it’s different from talking about fright, especially “dog fright.”

This kind of fright can somehow lead the one who’s frightened to be put in a situation where he or she may get injured. Would you want that to happen?

If you are a dog owner, you may care to know essential truths about your rights and responsibilities regarding the outcome of your pet’s acts. And if you are one of the “dog frightened” persons, the proceeding words are for you.

In this article, we will slowly digest important truths about dog fright and liability for injuries caused by your dog. To deeper understand the topic, continue reading.


What You Need To Know About Dog Fright

Those who fear dogs may have possessed that feeling from birth, have contained it through someone, or maybe because of a trauma. The fear may vary for every person depending on their reason.

You cannot say that a person is weird if they fear a tiny bug just because you fear something great, something that can kill you, which you may refer to as lions – an animal with characteristics that are way beyond bugs.

Dog fright usually happens during a surprise encounter with a dog. “Dog fright responses” may come out differently as this depends on the condition of the person involved.

He got frightened because he was just surprised by the encounter with one person. On the other, he got frightened because of the same reason but may respond more intensely than the former because of phobia.


#1. What is cynophobia?

Cynophobia is the clinical term for fear of dogs. According to Ashley Marcin, this type of phobia affects seven to nine percent of the population; it was commonly included in the fifth edition of “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.”

Statistics show that approximately 900 million dogs live worldwide, making the United States with maximum numbers. With this number, it is no surprise for one person to encounter a dog every single.

The fear that you feel towards a dog may be different to some degree compared to others. In reality, you can be frightened, but it does not mean you have a phobia. To further reiterate, fears are not entirely the same as phobias.

However, considering a person with a phobia, he may get severely injured because of the abnormal panic that person may feel upon contact with a dog. So, it is essential to know one’s condition before judging them as “overreacting.”


#2. Symptoms of cynophobia

Like any other medical condition, we can determine cynophobia by a set of symptoms. So if you are suspecting to be cynophobic, do not let yourself stick with that suspicion.


Physical symptoms

Before assuming that you are cynophobic, you can at least observe yourself first if the fear you have for dogs affects you in every way – to the point that your daily activities are disturbed.

The symptoms include:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Stomachache
  • Flesh tremors
  • Heart rate increasing rapidly
  • Chest pain
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Extreme shouts
  • Crying


Emotional symptoms

One of these symptoms includes the feeling of escaping away from the unbearable situation of seeing a dog. This feeling intensifies as the person gets closer and closer to where the dog is situated. It seems to that person that they are screaming for her life.

Another symptom is the feeling that your fear dominates you to the point that it drains you emotionally. It feels like you are hopeless to get out from the pangs of disturbance, and inside, you keep and keep on running, but you know it’s inescapable. It would seem to you that the enemy has won the bait.

If you are concerned, having realized that these symptoms are evident in you, the best thing to do is see a phobia specialist.


#3. Dog fright vs. cynophobia

The word phobia has originated from the Greek word “Phobos,” which means horror or irrational fear (Online Etymology Dictionary). On the other hand, as defined by Merriam-Webster, fear is an “unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.”

They may seem like referring to one thing, but the main difference is that phobias are horrifyingly “mutated” fear.

For example, you may be frightened as you look down through the window from the 40th floor of your company’s building. But you cannot easily conclude that you have a phobia of heights because you felt that way. Instead, you are expected to feel a bit uncomfortable sitting so far away from the safe ground.

You can say you have a phobia of heights if the fear that you have taunted you even by just looking at a plain picture of a man trying to impress the crowd as he tends to jump towards the waterfall pool. Also, if that fear keeps you trembling even just as you’re walking through the overpass. 

This diagnosis is the same as what you feel if you pass by a dog. You need to know the modification.

The difference in the intensity of the feeling is what you will have to consider correctly using one of these terms. Nevertheless, what’s important than using terms correctly is to check which terms apply to you.


#4. The cure for cynophobia

Let me tell you a story published by a freelance writer named Anna Sublet about her fear of dogs. She elaborates on the events in her life that caused her tremendous fear of being born.

Like most situations, her fear developed when she was young. The cynophobia symptoms were evident, but she did not discover it until she had heard and studied that term.

Yes, she was never bitten by a dog. However, her repetitive encounter with a dog, battering and snarling in their backyard, led her to acquire such fear. Her supposed to be meditative lone walks along the suburban streets have turned to anxious biking.

Her story ended with the fact that even if she has already gotten matured, she is still characterized by that kind of fear. She is still haunted by the possibility that she might get bitten. However, the undefeatable power of love made it a happy ending story.

Though the fear is unquenchable, love made it possible for her to embrace something she has feared all her life.

Nevertheless, whether you have this clinical condition or not, you are not exempted from yappy injuries. To understand more about this possibility, we will look at one of the significant cases involving dog fright and liability for yappy injuries.


#5. Dog fright cases

There have been numerous instances wherein people get injured because of dogs without being bitten. We consider these cases “dog fright” rather than “dog bite.” Such cases are brought to the court to solve them legally.

Here’s a summary of the case of Machacado v. City of N.Y, 80 Misc. 2d 889, N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1975 to further understand dog fright and your liability for yappy injuries:

“While the complainant walks parallel to the defendant’s property, a German Shepherd dog suddenly appeared, hurling at the cyclone fence as it aggressively barks at the complainant.

However, the setting occurred in a place covered with snow due to a storm before the barking incident. So as the complainant moved away from what she believed to be a dangerous creature, she accidentally fell and has acquired injuries.”

It was concluded in the same case that the plaintiff had an actionable cause when she was frightened and fell, leading to injury.

Because of her rights and the dog owner’s liability, the motion to dismiss the negligence claim has been denied; the defendant knows that his dog has the propensity to “charge at and frighten strangers.”

The facts herein show negligence on the defendant’s part, making him liable for yappy injuries.

Either you may have this “severe” feeling, or you are just one of the typical humans that is fearful of dogs, or maybe you are one of the lovers, you are not excused from yappy injuries unless there are exemptions specified by law.

Every one of us, not just dog owners, has to be knowledgeable of the legal rights and responsibilities of the people involved in an unwanted yappy incident. Also, if you have this tendency of “dog fright,” you may care to know if you have the right to present during a court trial.


What You Need To Know About Liability For Yappy Injuries

The University of Oxford defines liability as “the state of being responsible for something, especially by law.”

However, laws vary from one nation or state to another. Some acts are considered legal in a specific nation or state, while it is called a crime to the other. Some crimes are punishable by death in one country but not in others.

This is also true for yappy injuries. Your state’s people may not consider injuries caused by dogs a severe case and can be easily solved without getting themselves in a court-level argument. A simple conversation and financial assurance to settle the case would do; an amicable settlement is sufficient.

If you’re a dog owner, you may consider yourself fortunate becau