Another tragic example of an irresponsible dog owner caught my attention this weekend. According to WVEC.com a four-year-old girl was bitten in the face by a dog believed to be an Australian Cattle Dog or a Blue Heeler. The problem remains with this incident (and countless other similar events) they dog owner fled the scene of the bite after announcing that her dog’s rabies shots were ‘up to date’.
As authorities look for the dogs involving in this attack, they have confirmed that the incident occurred at a yard sale, when the dog owner dropped one of two leashes she was holding and the dog lunged at the young girl.
In addition to being irresponsible, incidents such as this are considered illegal and are no different that fleeing the scene of a car accident. As an attorney who concentrates in personal injury work, I tend to see my share of dog bite cases. While the law in most jurisdictions, such as Illinois, imposes significant responsibility upon the owner of the dog– it is incumbent that the dog owner be first identified.
While must dog bite victims are indeed traumatized following an attack, it is important that the dog’s owner be identified and a description of the dog be jotted down as soon as feasible following the incident. In addition to keeping your own account of the incident, I also counsel my dog bite clients in Chicago to contact the police and get a police report on file– regardless of how cooperative a dog owner may be.
Unfortunately, as the time following a dog attack progresses, sometimes so does the level of cooperation of the dog owner. Particularly, in the case of children involved in dog attacks, where years may pass between the time of the attack and when a lawsuit is commenced. It is important to gather as much information as feasible following the incident.
Given the prevalence of camera phones, it’s also a good idea to shoot a few photos of the dog involved in the attack, the dog owner and the bite itself, to further document the incident. As we see by this incident, there’s no guarantee that the dog owner will