To many, dogs are wonderful companions and beloved members of the family. However, we must remember that they are animals, and are born with the instincts and ability to attack. Each year, the CDC estimates that roughly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs. Of those victims, approximately one-half are children with the majority composed of senior citizens. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that almost a million individuals who have suffered dog bites require medical attention. If you have been attacked by a dog or your dog bit someone in Connecticut, it is important to understand your legal rights.
In Connecticut, if you are bitten by a dog, you have some statutory relief. According to Section 22-357 of the Connecticut General Statutes, “if any dog does damage to either the body or property of any person, the owner or keeper. . . shall be liable for such damage, except when such damage has been occasioned to the body or property of a person who, at the time of such damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, tormenting, or abusing such dog.” This law applies to everyone except a minor under the age of seven, in which case the burden of proof shifts to the defendant to prove fault on behalf of the minor.
If your dog did the biting, you are strictly liable for damages to the victim. Additionally, you should know that the victim is allowed, by law, to kill the dog during the attack (if it does not occur on your property), or make a complaint about such dog to the Chief Animal Control Officer who will quarantine the animal pending investigation. C.G.A. 22-358.
There are some precautionary steps you can take to avoid dog bites, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends:
- properly training your dogs
- socializing your dog with other dogs/humans at an early age
- placing warning signs on your property
- keeping your dog on a leash or fenced in
- not antagonizing or “riling” up a dog
- approaching a dog slowly and with your hand out
- avoiding trespassing on individuals property
If you are the victim of a dog bite, you have a claim for damages against the owner. After receiving medical attention, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in order to safeguard your rights. The Personal Injury Law Group at Maya Murphy, P.C. is on call to serve your needs. Call 203-221-3100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation.