I may be a lover and life-long owner of dogs, but I’m also a dog bite lawyer. I don’t believe in “bad” dogs, but dogs are creatures of instinct, and unfortunately, when presented with the right stimulus, even a normally well-behaved dog, regardless of breed, can and will bite. Some dogs, however, are just not well-socialized and present a danger to people; and in other cases, a devastating dog bite can occur in the least expected of circumstances. I’ll share a personal anecdote to illustrate the point.
My Recent Dog Bite Story: The Cautionary Tale of Tony the Terror
A few years ago, my grandmother adopted an older, adult shih tzu mix, named “Tony,” from the Melbourne Humane Society, a local animal shelter. Tony has been and continues to be a great and loving companion for her. He is about 7 pounds, and half of that weight is probably in fur. Not only is he tiny, but he’s a pretty cute little bugger, too. The problem with Tony, however, is that he’s mean as hell. Oh, he loves Granny, but all others — beware!
While this little dog is mean, he especially hates men. I’m able to pet him very carefully, but he makes it clear as day with his rumbling growl and gnarled teeth that I better not get any funny ideas. With women, on the other hand, Tony is a bit more tolerant — misleadingly tolerant.
Last Christmas, my grandmother hosted a small holiday gathering at her condo in Indian Harbour Beach. The only guests were close family, who all knew of Tony’s little doggie mean streak — but my significant other decided to put him to the test. She had met Tony a few times previously, and thinking she was a “dog whisperer,” she thought she had finally curried enough favor and trust in the little guy to pick him up and be friends. She reached down to scoop him up, and as soon as I could say, “STOP! Don’t put him anywhere by your FACE!” (the little monster had tried to bite me when I attempted a belly rub only a few minutes prior) the dog clamped down on her nose and held on as she swung her body around three times around before he finally released. Blood flowed and panic ensued.
Fortunately, my aunt, a trained nurse, was present and helped to keep some order to the situation. After cleaning and disinfecting the wound, the dog bite was not as severe as the initial shock made it appear to be. No hospital visits or additional medical treatment was necessary, and the wound on her nose healed without any scarring — which was a huge sigh of relief.
I did the best I could to hide it, but at the time of the incident, I was absolutely mortified. What if my beautiful girlfriend’s face was scarred or disfigured permanently? What if she needed reconstructive plastic surgery? Would I need to sue my own grandmother for this horrible dog bite injury? If so, what would happen to Tony, the endearing yet menacing little terror of a dog? How would this event and its repercussions ripple through my relationships with my significant other and my family? These are tough questions that may run through the mind of anyone in the wake of a dog bite incident, and they aren’t easy to stomach, even for a dog bite injury lawyer.
The Moral of the Story…
You can never be too cautious when it comes to dogs that are unfamiliar to you or have known, aggressive tendencies. Don’t make assumptions based on the breed, and certainly don’t dismiss a potential threat due to a dog’s size. As famously quipped by Mark Twain, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
If you file a lawsuit because of a dog bite injury, it doesn’t mean you hate dogs; it just means you got bit by one.
I may be a personal injury lawyer, but believe that is typically NOT a pleasure to sue someone. Many say that we live in a litigious society, but I have never personally seen clients looking for a “pay day.” Typically, personal injury claimants are simply victims that have experienced physical and sometimes emotional injury, and as a result, are facing financial hardship. If you have been bitten by a dog, it is absolutely okay to explore your legal options. If you file a lawsuit because of a dog bite injury, it doesn’t mean you hate dogs; it just means you got bit by one.
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Collingsworth Law is here to help. Call now to discuss the legal options concerning your dog bite case, and we will do our best to help you move forward in your recovery.