Dog Bite Cases
In Connecticut, people who choose to enjoy the pleasure of having a dog also take on the responsibility of making sure the dog does no harm to people, property, or other pets in the community. Though most dog owners are conscientious about making sure they follow leash laws and other ethical standards for animal care, some are not so cautious. The good news is that in our state, the law is generally on the side of a dog bite victim. Generally, simply proving that the owner or keeper has responsibility for the dog is enough cause for a case. Though anyone can be attacked by a dog or cat, children and the elderly can be particularly at risk. A dog or cat bite can lead to shots to prevent rabies, wound infections, expensive surgeries, physical rehabilitation and permanent scarring.
I've Been Bitten By A Dog; What Should I Do?
No matter how bad the bite looks, the first thing to do is seek medical attention. Most of us have no hesitation about being licked by a dog, but if there has been any breaking of the skin – no matter how small – you run the risk of developing an infection, or worse. Get to an emergency room or a doctor immediately.
Call the animal warden or an animal control officer from your town or city – the number is in the blue pages of your phone book or on the internet. You must make sure that the dog is current on its shots. Rabies is a dreaded disease for good reason. The animal control officer will help identify the animal and contact the owner and/or keeper and make sure that all shots are current. If there is any risk of rabies, you should talk with a doctor about treatment without delay. Over the years, rabies shots have improved and are nowhere near as painful as they once were. Rabies, however, is as dangerous as ever. Talk with a doctor about what should be done to protect you.
Who Is Responsible For The Injuries?
In Connecticut, the dog's owner or keeper is fully responsible for injuries and damages that the animal causes. Finding the identity of the dog's owner is usually not difficult, and it is something with which the animal control officer will assist you. Decisions about what it means to be a dog's “keeper” often have to be made when injuries are sustained on rental properties. It is not uncommon for landlords to be sued for allowing a dog in a tenant's apartment. In some cases, a landlord may have even been aware that a tenant's dog was dangerous. The courts have consistently decided that a “keeper” must have responsibility for the dog's care, maintenance, or control, which includes feeding, watering, exercising, sheltering or otherwise caring for the dog. According to Connecticut's statute about injuries caused by dogs, if the owner or keeper is a minor, then the child's parent or guardian is responsible for the dog's behavior.
Is It True That The Owner Or Keeper Is Only Responsible For Injuries And Damages If The Dog Has Injured Someone Before?
Connecticut has a statute about injuries caused by dogs, and the owner or keeper is held responsible for all bites, even if the dog has not hurt someone before. Many of the rules that we follow are not statutes, but rather laws that have been with us for centuries and that are often based on principles of commonly accepted behavior and decency. These are part of our “common law.” According to Connecticut's statutory law, a domestic animal's owner or keeper is responsible for injuries that the animal causes, regardless of whether or not that animal has previously hurt someone. In other words, once the owner or keeper knows his particular animal is dangerous, he has the obligation to take additional measures to be sure the animal never does it again. If the owner does not take the additional measures, he could be held criminally liable.
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The following case is successfully handled in Connecticut courts by Attorney Levin.