A 12-year-old Indianapolis boy was hospitalized this month after suffering a vicious dog attack. On July 5, neighbors witnessed the pit bull attacking the child and attempted to stop the mauling. According to eye witnesses, the dog seized the boy’s arm and would not let go.
The neighbors, upon intervening, stabbed the pit bull in the eye and tried to beat the dog off with a curtain rod. The dog eventually stopped after one neighbor fired six gun shots in the air and other shots at the dog.
The dog’s owner has been given five citations and civil claims are likely to be filed. Authorities seem to believe that the owner will not likely face criminal charges despite have received previous citations for his dog.
Similarly, in 2010, a Middleton man faced criminal charges after his two pit bulls attacked his 23-year-old neighbor. The neighbor survived but nearly lost both ears. One of the dogs involved in the attack was adopted from the Humane Society, and the owner was warned that the dog should be given obedience training. The Humane Society further alleged that the owner failed to disclose he owned another pit bull during the adoption process. The Humane Society claims they would have denied the adoption had they known.
In this instance, a Metro Officer intervened and killed one of the pit bulls and wounded the other, who fled from the scene. The surviving dog was eventually located and subsequently put down. The two criminal charges the owner faces are for a dog bite that caused serious bodily injury and for having non-immunized dogs.
Dog bite laws vary from state to state so it is important to find an experienced Indiana attorney who is familiar with the relevant laws. Indiana laws are considered to be quite strict compared to other state laws of a similar nature. Strict liability governs the category of civil claims that dog owners face when their animal is involved in an attack on a mail carrier or an individual carrying out legal duties. Strict liability makes the causal connection quite simple to prove in court, and the case will typically proceed right to the award of damages. For any other individual attacked, the one bite rule applies. The one bite rule operates along the lines of negligence and would necessitate proving that the dog in question had a propensity for violent behavior. An example would be proving that the dog had previously bitten a person. The dog’s owner must also have failed to take reasonable steps to protect society.
The Center for Disease Controls reports that 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Dog bites can easily spread disease, as many untrained dogs being negligently cared for are also unlikely to have their statutorily required immunizations.