As a lot of you know, dogs, their possibility to bite and the cost of claims on the owners homeowners policy for medical care and litigation has been a concern to the insurance industry for years. You just can’t charge enough in annual premium to cover tens of thousands in claim dollars.
Now, the recent story in the news of the man who was bitten and, in a short period of time died due to harmful bacteria in the dogs saliva. Such a tragedy.
I was listening to KIRO fm yesterday (thank you Dori). I had to turn it off before I heard the whole story, but Dori was talking with an attorney (I think for the family of the man that died) and that attorney said that in the state of Washington the dog owners are liable for dog bites, no matter what. If the dog even barks or stands aggressively, that is a red flag. If that same dog goes on to bite someone, on its owners property, in its owners car, anywhere, the owner can be sued and past demonstration of aggression will only make the suit stronger. The owner will be responsible for all costs. It doesn’t matter where the dog is when it attacks someone. The man who died had been invited into the owners yard. He went to pet the dog and the deed was done.
If you’ll notice the breed wasn’t mentioned, just the presence of aggression of any sort.
I can’t begin to imagine the cost for this needless loss of life. Apparently the law also allows the possibility of the dog to then be put down. Tragedy all around.
It seems to me it all comes back to the dog owner. You know if your dog is in any way aggressive. In ANY way. Bark, stance, growl, showing teeth, biting. All of these, apparently, are signs of aggression and can be used in a court of law to prove a case against you. If you own a dog, you own its behavior. Through training, make that behavior something you are proud of, or think twice about making that dog a part of the family.
This is a warning, too, to those people who think having an aggressive dog in the yard to bark at everything or nothing is a good thing, those days are past. If someone passes by and the dog lunges, or a child tries to pat it and is injured, the law suit is the same and the dog barking isn’t going to intimidate anyone in the court room.
Oh, one last thing to the owner of an aggressive dog. I can almost guarantee, after a claim, your homeowners policy will be cancelled.