Hamilton, Ohio Dog Bite Lawyers
There are a large number of people in the state of Ohio who enjoy dogs. While most dogs are friendly, there are some dogs that attack and bite innocent victims. The laws that apply when dogs attack people in Ohio can be particularly complicated. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite attack, it is critical to obtain the assistance of a seasoned dog bite attorney who can help you obtain the compensation you need from the parties responsible.
Statistics Regarding Dog Bite Attacks
The Centers for Disease Control report that over 4.7 million dog bite attacks occur each year in the United States. Statistics suggest that approximately 800,000 of these attacks result in injuries that are serious enough to require medical attention. Several dozen individuals in the United States are also killed each year due to dog attacks.
According to another report by DogsBite.org, more than 35 breeds of dogs were responsible for 433 deaths in the United States over 13 years. While this report was done on a national level, similar trends are apparent throughout the state of Ohio.
Several years ago, the Chief Environmental Specialist for the Franklin County Environmental Court testified that in 2009 there were 126 dog bite cases in Franklin County and that 38% of these attacks involved pit bulls. Also in 2009, representatives for the Toledo Lucas County Health Department revealed in 2009 that there were 380, total biting cases with 65% involving pit bulls.
Later, in 2001, a representative for the Dayton and Montgomery County Public Health Department revealed that from June 2010 to June 2011, there were 736 dog bite incidents, with 16% involving pit bulls and another 6% involving lab mixes. Some of the most recent cases involving serious dog attacks in the country include the following:
- A 5-year-old girl was seriously injured in a Hamilton dog attack that left her jaw fractured in two places and necessitated the insertion of a metal plate.
- A 6-year-old boy received over 200 stitches and ended up needing plastic surgery following a Springfield dog attack.
- A 12-year-old Georgetown boy was so seriously mauled by a dog that he was transported to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital by helicopter.
- Several people are attacked by a dog pack in Akron, including one woman who experienced severe bite wounds to her legs and feet
The Most Dangerous Dog Breeds in Ohio
Any dog can be unpredictable, but statistics reveal that some types of dogs are more dangerous than others. Even though a breed might be viewed as dangerous, however, there are still many dogs within that breed with sweet dispositions. That said, it is helpful to know the types of dogs around which to be especially cautious. Each year, the Center for Disease Control publishes a list of statistics related to dog bites that occur in the United States. Some of the dog breeds that attack or bite the most include:
- Australian Shepherds
- Bull terriers
- Cocker spaniels
- German shepherds
- Jack Russell terriers
- Lhasa apsos
- Pit bulls
Common Factor Involved in Ohio Dog Attacks
When dog attacks occur in Ohio, over 80% of these accidents involve some common factors, which include:
- The dog’s owner failed to neuter or spray the animal
- The dog was abused or neglected to some degree
- No able-bodied person could intervene
- The victim had no relationship with the animal
- The victim was compromised by age or physical condition
Dog Attacks and Ohio Law
The state of Ohio follows strict liability laws when it comes to dog bites, which means that if a dog attacks a person, the dog’s owner is responsible for the resulting damages and injuries. These laws do not require a dog to be deemed dangerous prior to the incident. Not only do state laws come into play when dog attacks and bites occur in Ohio, there are also numerous city ordinances regarding dog attacks throughout the state. For example, 24 cities in Ohio, including Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Toledo, either restrict or prohibit pit bull ownership. Other cities like Akron and Brook Park prohibit American bulldogs.
The Dangerous Classification in Ohio
Ohio law states that a dog that attacks or bites a person must be registered as a “dangerous dog,” and will then be subject to various restrictions. For example, these dogs must with the exception of hunting be kept on a leash that is less than six feet long. The dog must also be kept in a confined and locked area like a cage or yard. Additionally, dangerous dogs must wear tags designating them as such. A person who fails three time to control a dangerous dog must obtain liability insurance in case the animal hurts someone.
Ohio Landlords and Dog Bite Liability
Landlords in Ohio are generally not liable for actions of a tenant’s dogs. In situations in which the dog owner owns the property where the attack occurred, homeowner’s insurance will often cover things like medical bills as well as other damages. Tenants, however, often lack renters’ insurance to pay for injuries and other damage caused by dog attacks. Consequently, many victims of dog attacks involving animals owned by tenants pursue various legal strategies to hold landlords accountable.
Some of the most common situations in which Ohio landlords can be found liable for an attack include when landlords harbor, keep, or own a dog. Ohio law considers a person to harbor a dog when that individual controls the location where the dog lives. Landlords can also be found liable for a dog attack if they directly controlled the animal at the time the attack occurred.
A Special Note on Dog Bites and Children
Children are at an elevated risk of being seriously injured by dog attacks. There are some critical strategies that can help keep children safe, however. One of the best places to begin is by teaching children to always ask for permission from a dog’s owner or controller before petting the animal, especially if the child does not know the dog. It is also a great idea to teach children how to be alert to the body language of dogs, particularly noticing when the animal is either uncomfortable or threatened.
Common Defenses to Ohio Dog Attacks
There are a variety of defenses that can be raised after a dog bite to prevent a person from obtaining compensation for the resulting damages. Some of these defenses include that the victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property, the victim was committing a crime on the dog owner’s property, the victim was committing a crime against another individual, or the victim was abusing or teasing the dog on the dog owner’s property. Dog bite victims who live with the person who owns the dog in question may also experience difficulty in obtaining compensation.
Speak With a Seasoned Ohio Dog Bite Lawyer
It is not uncommon for the owners of vicious dogs to create obstacles for attack victims to receive compensation. Many times, these owners even have difficulty admitting that their dogs have a violent nature. Other times, the dog’s owner does want to admit liability for the accident. If you or a loved one is impacted by a dog bite or attack, do not hesitate to obtain the assistance of a dog bite attorney who can make sure that you obtain the compensation that you deserve. Speak to the personal injury attorneys at Kruger & Hodges today to make sure that you are able to pursue the compensation to which you are entitled.