From a Dog’s Point of View, You May be the Attacker
Pennsylvania’s strict dog bite liability law holds owners responsible in most dog bite cases. But winning a legal battle is of little comfort when you or your child must live with a permanent visible scar or other condition caused by a dog bite. By understanding more about why dogs bite, you can avoid placing yourself in imminent danger.
While there are certainly exceptions, most dogs bite when they perceive some form of danger. According to well-known dog behaviorist Cesar Milan, dogs bite out of self-defense. In their eyes, the people they bite are attackers, such as in the following situations:
- When people threaten their property — The canine point of view includes toys, food, a home and family members as property. Get too close, and they may bite.
- Out of fear — Startling a dog in any way can result in a bite. Running toward a dog is one example. Reaching out to pet a sleeping dog is another poor decision.
- When a dog is in pain — Dog owners need to take extra precautions when their dogs have a medical condition that causes pain when touched. Avoid trying to touch a dog in pain unless its health or life is in danger.
- To protect their young — Any mother can be a fierce warrior when her children are in danger, and dogs are no exception. Puppies may be adorable, but even family members are in danger if the mother senses a threat.
- When a dog sees a person as prey — Dogs love to chase. If you are jogging or riding a bicycle, some dogs see you as prey. Stay alert for unrestrained dogs to avoid the situation whenever possible.
While it is not your legal responsibility to take action to avoid dog bites, observing appropriate cautionary practices makes sense. Still, if you or your children become dog bite victims in Lancaster County, you may have a legal right to pursue compensation and should consult an attorney.