Dog owners who love their pets often invite children to come closer and assure concerned parents that their dogs don't bite. However, it is impossible to predict how an animal will react in every situation, and you certainly don't want your child to suffer because of a dog owner's negligence.
While you may recognize and teach your children to know the signs that a dog feels threatened, is in pain or is distressed -- any of which may cause the dog to lash out and bite -- you may not always be able to protect your child from an animal that is intent on causing harm. However, Michigan dog bite laws are on your side.
The consequences of a dog attack
The law in Michigan holds a dog owner responsible for an unprovoked attack. This is fortunate because Michigan has the sixth highest rate of dog bites, according to one insurance company. Dog bites can result in life-altering injuries, including lacerations, disfiguring scars, broken bones, infection and fatal blood loss. Sadly, the most vulnerable victims are children under age one. In fact, the rate of dog bites for this age group doubled within the last year.
As a parent, you probably teach your child to love and respect animals, to treat them kindly and to provide for their needs. You may warn your child to back away if your dog shows signs of annoyance or anxiety. Not every dog owner takes these precautions.
Negligent dog owners
A dog owner who allows an animal to run through your neighborhood without restrictions or who allows the dog to demonstrate aggression without training may be liable if you or your child suffers injuries from a bite. Responsible dog ownership also means properly socializing a dog. Negligent dog owners may keep their dogs chained without adequate contact with humans and other animals. This may create a situation where the dog feels vulnerable or threatened if your child comes near.
Proving negligence in a dog bite case is not always easy. A dog owner may claim you or your child provoked the dog, which may complicate your chances for obtaining the compensation you need and deserve after a bite or attack. Reaching out to a skilled attorney who understands Michigan's laws for dog bite liability may be a wise move. With the help of an attorney, you can fight to reach your goal of holding a negligent dog owner responsible for the actions of his or her animal.