Dog bites and the law
It is imperative that dog owners and victims of attack understand the current UK law concerning dog bites. If you are bitten by a dog, knowledge of the law that surrounds to the incident will help you to make a claim as quickly and effectively as possible.
The main point to bear in mind is that if the dog owner has been negligently treating a dog, for example, not feeding it, leaving it unsupervised or anything else, then you are probably entitled to compensation for the bite – especially if it requires medical attention. It is also worth looking into illegal breeds, so you know if an owner is guilty of having an illegal breed of dog.
It will come as no surprise to people that the legalities concerning how dog owners should behave responsibly with their dogs and how dog bite compensation functions practically in society are closely linked in providing safer streets for our cities and suburbs. In order to understand your rights when it comes to dog bites and the law, it is necessary to understand what dog owners should and shouldn’t do, how dog owners are responsible even for what many may call an ‘accident’ and what you can claim for when bitten by a dog. This article will present two case studies, both explaining the process of how claims for dog bites and the law work in order to protect and bring justice to victims. It is worth noting that both of the individuals in the cases not only gain compensation for the dog bite itself, but also for future financial losses and, the emotional damage. Thinking about dog bites and the law should equip you well if you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of a dog bite.
Shirley, a single mum from Reading, 45, was involved in a dog bite incident when she was out walking her own dog in her estate’s park in February 2009. She was forced to confront the quite intimidating issues surrounding dog bites and the law,
‘I remember exactly what happened, I had let my dog off the lead in order for her to have a run about the park, when I noticed that a much larger dog had begun to chase mine. I began to get a bit worried, as I couldn’t spot the owner of this other dog anywhere. The larger dog then began to attack my dog – and that’s when I started to run and help. I managed to tear away the larger dog, but in doing so it bit onto my right arm so hard that I screamed. This was when the owner finally arrived at the scene – when the dog was still locked onto my arm. The owner managed to calm her dog down and it did finally let go of my arm. Both myself and my dog were injured. The owner of the dog took us both home, by this point my arm was bleeding badly. Luckily, my eldest son was at home and he took our dog to the vet, whilst I drove myself to the hospital. I needed stitches and they advised me to rest my arm for two weeks at least.’
Shirley worked in a local bakery, where she did not get paid for the time she had off work. This left her family in financial difficulties. Luckily, the family pet was treated at the vets and made a full recovery.
Shirely was then faced with expensive veterinary fees, as well as a substantial loss in wages. She googled ‘dog bites and the law’ and found that she may have a case for compensation. The owner of the other dog had not be sufficiently supervising her pet; Shirley had also been negatively affected by the impact of her dog bite injuries. It was at this point that Shirley contacted some solicitors to discuss what her options were. She retold the story clearly and concisely and was told that she may have a case for compensation under the current legislations for dog bites and the law surrounding them.
This was a great relief to Shirley, as she had been losing sleep over the mounting bills. In the end, she received her compensation, helping her family out a great deal.
A similar case occurred with James, 23, from Manchester, whilst at university. He had been walking through the local park on his way to a lecture when an unsupervised dog attacked his left calf for ‘absolutely no reason’. James was left in a great deal of pain and demanded the owner’s contact details when they finally arrived at the scene. This was the most sensible thing James could have done, as he required expensive physiotherapy in order to get his leg back to normal, as well as minor reconstructive surgery. There was no way James would have been able to afford this on a student budget. James made a dog bite claim against the owner of the dog and won £5,000 in compensation.