A seven month old child in San Antonio was killed by his grandmother’s pit bull dogs this week. Earlier, a young child in Luling, Texas, was also killed by a pet dog. It is shocking to everyone in the community when a death occurs because of a dog attack; however, most people would be surprised to learn how many dog bites occur every year resulting in serious injuries.
Many people have been bitten by animals that, according to their owners, have never attacked or bitten anyone before. A common factor in many cases of dog bites is that the person bitten is a young child. Often the young child is being playful with the dog and the dog attempts to assert its dominance by biting. In the recent San Antonio dog attack case the San Antonio Chief of Police expressed his opinion that the dog had become jealous of the time the grandmother was spending with the infant.
Owners of dogs that have been accused of biting someone often respond that they had no notice that their dog had the propensity to bite or that the person bitten must have done something to cause the attack. Still others want a ban on Pit Bulls and other so-called viscous dogs. Owners of dogs need to restrain their pets when children are present especially very young children that do not know how to interact or respond to a dog. There are numerous legal theories to hold pet owners responsible for the injuries caused by their dogs.
Insurance companies often respond that their insured, the owner of the dog, are not responsible for a dog bite or an attack if they had no notice that their pet had the potential to harm someone. Some breeds of dogs are known to be aggressive, though owners of the suspect breeds dispute that belief and assert that any attack is the result of poor training. However, many dog owners essentially admit liability when they state that the dog was more of a guard dog than a family pet; essentially admitting that the dog’s aggressive personality is a desirable characteristic. The owner of the dog that attacked the infant in San Antonio had posted on the fence around her yard warnings of the “Security Dog”, therefore, implying she had notice of the dog’s aggressive personality.