Judge Finds Dog Owner Guilty After Bear Lake Dog Attack

This past Thursday, April 28, Rich County Justice Court Judge Ross McKinnon found a dog owner guilty of a class B misdemeanor in allowing a vicious animal to be at large. According to KSL News, the incident happened at a restaurant in Bear Lake, where a woman had her Great Pyrenees with her as she ate with her family in the outdoor eating area.

According to reports and a video camera that recorded the action, the dog “Lilly” first growled and nipped at a child that had come close to her. About 15 minutes later, the video surveillance shows the dog lashing out and biting a 2 year-old child that had come near her and shows the same dog dragging the child under the table.

For her part, the dog owner was sentenced to six months of probation and ordered to pay a $680 fine. In addition, the dog owner has been asked to dispose of the dog. According to Judge McKinnon: “The dog needs to be put down, or the dog can be given to a ranch.” While the dog owner protests the sentence and disputes what happened — suggesting that the child stepped on her dog’s tail — the video very clearly shows the dog latch onto the helpless child and pull him under the table. According to Rich County Attorney Gary Heward, putting the dog down is a “public safety issue.”

Legally speaking, dog owners are required to not let their dogs run at large, especially those with “vicious propensities.” In this case, the dog was brought to a very public place – a restaurant – where she was allowed to come in contact with a small child. The local ordinance, sometimes referred to as a “leash law,” is designed to prevent against this very thing from happening, if dog owners would follow it.

The parents of this young child certainly have a claim against the dog owner for past and future medical bills, for psychological therapies he might need, for any scar revision procedures, and an amount for “general damages” for the trauma of having to go through this and the expected anxiety that this child will most likely have because of this event.

Utah Postal Workers see an Increase in Dog Bites

The U.S. Postal Service is reporting an increase in dog attacks on mail carriers all throughout Utah. A total of 41 mail carriers were bit last year, including one attack where the mailman said he feared for his life. A pitbull attacked Mr. Frye last year in a neighborhood in Cottonwood Heights. According to a report by KSL news, the dog came out of nowhere and knocked Mr. Frye to the ground, he didn’t have a chance to grab his pepper spray. Fortunately, Mr. Frye’s supervisor, Karl Lopez, was on the route with him that day and was able to get the dog off. This marked Frye’s third time being bit by a dog in his 15 years working at the USPS.

 

Video Courtesy of KSL.com.

The postal service is not sure why attacks have increased but they say many of the 41 attacks could have been prevented. They offer these tips:

  • Obedience training can teach dogs’ proper behavior and help owners control their dogs.
  • When a carrier comes to your home, keep your dog inside, away from the door in another room.
  • Don’t let your child take mail from the letter carrier in the presence of your dog. Your dog’s instinct is to protect the family.
  • Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to bite. Humane Society statistics show that dogs that have not been spayed or neutered are up to three times more likely to bite.
  • Dogs that receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time frequently turn into biters.

It Utah, dog owners are strictly liable for the injuries caused by their dog – it doesn’t matter if the bite is the dogs first offense. The problem with many dog bites is not the physical wound but the infection the may set in days after the bite. The dog bite clients I have represented often spend thousands of dollars going to a wound care facility to treat the infection.

Ron Kramer is a Salt Lake City dog bite attorney with offices in Bountiful, Draper and Provo, Utah. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation.

Rottweiler Dog Takes Life of Young Boy

A 20-month boy from Florida is dead after a vicious dog bite attack by a Rottweiler dog. According to the AP, the toddler was at home during a party when the dog was somehow allowed into the house. The dog then proceeded to attack the boy, with family members trying to pry the dog off the child. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The dog was seized by animal control.

It is unusual to see such a vicious dog attack. However, statistically, young children more often end up on the losing end of a dog bite because of their small size and the inability to fight off an attacking dog. My prayers go out to the family of this boy. This is a terrible tragedy.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah dog bite attorney.

Man Attacked by Two Pit Bulls in Salt Lake City Dog Bite Accident

Two pit bulls attacked a man in South Salt Lake City on Friday August 21, 2009. This Utah dog bite marks the second attack involving pit bulls in the last two days and the fourth of the summer.

“The guy said he was outside and the dog attacked him,” said gas station owner Ahmed Nazir. According to the police and KSL news, the put bulls approached the man outside a gas station at 3900 South and Main Street in Salt Lake City, Utah. As the dogs got close the man got scared and started kicking one of the dogs. The dog fought back and bit the man in the face and arm. The dogs were picked up three blocks from the scene of the dog bite.

 

Video Courtesy of KSL.com.

The fact that the pit bulls can turn violent so quickly is alarming many Utah residents. Many city councils, including Orem, are considering regulations against pit bulls. Springville, Utah has had regulations against the breed for several years. The call for regulation against pit bulls is equaled by an outcry from the Humane Society of Utah who says it is unfair to simply target pit bulls. They claim that if they dog owner does his or her job, the dogs will not become aggressive.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah dog bite accident attorney.

Utah Dog Bite Attorney Says to Look for Warning Signs to Avoid a Dog Bite

Don’t wait until you’re bit to spot warning signs of a dog’s aggression. According to the Center for Disease Control, or CDC, much of dog aggression existed before the Utah dog bite ever happened. Somehow, the dog grew up thinking that growling and biting his own family members is acceptable conduct. The dog’s owners may have not taken steps to curb this growing aggression before it developed into a dog bite. Experts tell us that dog aggression is serious and needs to be treated seriously. And it should be addressed at the first sign. Experts recommend that the dog be taken to a veterinarian for a complete medical workup, including blood work. Sometimes the reason for a dog’s aggression can be linked to a medical condition. There is treatment for this.

If a dog has become aggressive and there is no medical explanation for it, then dog owners need to look at modifying the dog’s behavior through training classes. It is in the dog’s owner’s best interest to reduce the risk of the dog biting others.

In Utah, dog owners are “strictly liable” when their dog bites another. When a dog injures, maims or seriously injures a person, the owner will be responsible for all the harm and losses that follow. There could be civil lawsuits as well as possible criminal sanctions if the owner lets a known aggressive dog come in contact with others.

When the dog bites, you will want to hire a Utah attorney who is experienced in handling dog bite cases. Dog bites can leave permanent and lasting injuries. They can be quite serious. You therefore want to make sure you are making the best possible claim if you or a loved one have been hurt in Utah by a dog bite.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation.

Utah Attorney Advises What To Do After a Dog Bite

If you have been bitten by a dog, you are probably going to be shaken up and you may be unsure of what to do next. It is important, however, to make sure you take steps following your dog bite to preserve a possible claim against the owned or keeper of the dog who bit you.

As soon as you can after your dog bite, you will want to:

  • Get the name, phone and address of the dog owner or keeper of the dog.
  • Make sure the animal control people are notified. The dog that bit you could have rabies or some other disease and should be quarantined to determine if it has any disease in its system.
  • Find out who saw the dog bite, get names, addresses and phone numbers of these witnesses.
  • Find out what kind of dog bit you and its breed.
  • Take photographs of your wound as soon as you can and take periodic photographs as your wound heals to show the progression.
  • Take photographs of where the dog bite took place. For example, if the dog jumped the fence or dug a hole to get out, make sure you take a picture of where the dog escaped.
  • If the dog bit through your clothing, preserve the clothing, including any blood soaked clothing that you may have worn at the time of the dog bite.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah dog bite attorney.

Utah Celebrates National Dog Bite Prevention Week

In an effort to promote awareness of the continuing problem of dog bites, the Center for Disease Control is celebrating National Dog Bite Week (May 17-23). Perhaps “celebrating” is really the appropriate word. The CDC estimates that there are over 4.5 million dog bites that happen every year! The odds are 3 to 1 that the person most likely to be a dog bite victim is a child. And these same stats say that over 75 percent of the bites come from dogs the victim knows and most dog bites occur either at home or in a familiar place.

The CDC is trying to promote awareness of the warning signs of an impending dog bite. It seems that kids are less likely to appreciate these warning signs and as a result, suffer the bulk of dog bite injuries. Renowned veterinarian, Dr. Ian Dunbar, has developed a criteria for assessing and categorizing dog bites:

  • Level 1: Displays of intimidation, including dog growling, lunges, snarling with no teeth.
  • Level 2: Dogs teeth graze or touch the skin, but no puncture. Could be minor surface abrasions and bruising and scratches from paws and nails.
  • Level 3: Between 1-4 small holes with punctures about 1/2 of the length of the dog’s tooth.
  • Level 4: Between 1-4 holes from a single bite with punctures deeper than 1/2 of dog’s tooth. Tearing, black bruising and/or slashing wounds are present. Dog may have clamped down and shook victim.
  • Level 5: Multiple bites of Level 4 or above. A repeated attack.
  • Level 6: Any dog bite that kills a human.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation.

Utah Dog Bite Attorney Offers Free Advice to Dog Bite Victims

Utah law imposes “strict liability” on the owners of dogs who injure others. Even if the dog has never bitten before, and the owner has no advance notice that their dog may bite, the dog owner is still responsible. Claims against these dog owners is covered by Utah Code section 18-1-1. This statute says: “Every person owning or keeping a dog shall be liable in damages for injury committed by such dog, and it shall not be necessary in any action brought therefor to allege or prove that such dog was of a vicious or mischievous disposition or that the owner or keeper thereof knew that it was vicious or mischievous.”

Under the statute, the dog doesn’t even have to sink his teeth into his victim for the dog owner to be responsible. If the dog startles the victim to the point that they injure themselves trying to get away, the owner is still liable under the statute. For example, a postal worker trying to get away from a snarling dog, who twists then his ankle, would have a claim against the owner of the dog.

One reason why a dog owner may not be responsible is if the dog bite victim provoked the dog by yelling at him, taunting him, teasing or tormenting him. Children, however, can’t be blamed for merely petting or playing with a dog, unless they were warned not to do so. At any rate, children cannot be expected to appreciate the dangers of a dog like an adult can.

If a dog’s owner is responsible for the dog bite, they can be expected to be responsible for the victim’s medical bills, including future plastic surgery revisions, for the pain, suffering and emotional distress as well as having to live with scars and scaring that may never go away.

The problems that arise in these cases don’t come from being unable to hold the dog owner accountable – this usually is not a problem. The problem come from not being able to find money to pay for the often serious injuries that can arise from a dog bite. The most common scenario in this situation is that the dog owner is a renter, who doesn’t have renter insurance. The reality is that unless the dog owner has home owners or some other insurance, it will usually be very difficult to get proper compensation for the dog bite.

Dog bites can have devastating effects on their victims and be very traumatic for young children. Kids who have been bitten are often terrified about dogs for many years afterwards and can have trouble sleeping, interacting normally with others and be afraid to go outside.

A personal injury lawyer who has experience dealing with dog bite claims and home owners insurance companies, who has experience in presenting the damages the victim has suffered and who has a track record of obtaining favorable results, should be sought when dealing with these types of claims. The author, Ron Kramer, is an attorney and has handled a large number of dog bite cases and is familiar with the trauma that they can cause in his clients’ lives.

Ron Kramer is a personal injury-dog bite lawyer who handles dog bite cases in Brigham City, Ogden, Layton, Bountiful, Salt Lake City, Sandy, Provo-Orem, Spanish Fork, Price, Delta and in the St. George, Utah area. He is the author of The Utah Accident Book. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation.