Most dogs who have a happy home and responsible owners are good dogs, but even a good dog may bite under certain circumstances. When owners are irresponsible in caring for and properly restraining pets, however, the resulting injuries from an attack may easily prove devastating.
The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that there are over 4.5 million dog bite incidents in the U.S. each year. From the risk of bacterial or viral infection to severe physical injury, even a relatively minor dog bite injury may result in overwhelming medical costs as well as physical and emotional trauma.
Children are especially vulnerable.
Their smaller size, lack of experience and often unpredictable behavior make children especially vulnerable to dog bite injuries. Children make up about half of all dog bite incidents, and they often experience more severe injury than adults because they are physically unable to defend themselves.
Dog bites may lead to dangerous infection.
About 1 in 5 dog bites require medical attention due to the risk of infection. Potentially harmful bacteria in a dog’s saliva may include staphylococcus, Pasteurella, streptococcus and Captnocytophaga canimorsus. Additionally, unvaccinated dogs may carry the rabies virus.
A dog’s owner or guardian is liable for injuries.
California law provides for strict liability for dog owners. This means an owner or keeper of the animal is liable for injuries caused by their dog. Others involved in an incident may have an obligation under a negligence standard, but not the dog owner. The dog owner is held strictly liable for injuries their dog causes.