Since it's been getting warmer outside the last couple of weeks, I started to take my 2 young sons out to play after dinner. The other night, I took my sons to a small playground behind a school near our house. As I was pushing my sons on the swings, I saw an unleashed medium sized dog run towards us from a nearby path. Running behind the dog was the owner yelling for the dog to stop.
As the dog neared, the mom in me went into protection mode, and I immediately picked up my 2 sons. At the same time, all sorts of scenarios started to flash in my head. What if the dog attacked me and I dropped my sons? What if the dog was able to jump up and bite my sons while in my arms? So I moved as fast as I could to a climbing structure, put my sons on the top and told them not to move.
When the dog ran to me, I saw that it was a German Shepherd mix. The dog then jumped on me, and I was almost knocked over. When the owner finally caught up to the dog, she said, "Don't worry, he is really friendly. He is not vicious. He is not that type of breed. He just got away from me." The owner then put the leash on the dog, and they went on their way.
As the owner and her dog walked away, what the owner said about how the dog is not vicious because he is not that type of breed started to bother me. As a personal injury lawyer, I know that a dog doesn't have to be a specific type of breed to attack, bite and injure someone. Yes, when we see media coverage of vicious dog attacks, the breeds are usually Pit Bulls or Rottweilers; however, dogs of any breed can attack. Any type of dog can attack if the dog is not properly trained or socialized.
If my sons and I were attacked in this situation, the owner could be held responsible for our injuries and damages because she did not properly control her dog. In Pennsylvania, there is a law that requires owners to keep their dogs under proper and adequate control. See related article: What You Need To Know If You Were Attacked And Injured By An Unleashed Dog In Pennsylvania
Any dog, regardless of its breed, can attack. Just because the owner says the dog is "friendly" doesn't mean that the dog won't attack. I am not saying the dog will attack, but as parents, it's better to err on the side of safety than having our sons or daughters attacked by a dog. Don't let children play with an unfamiliar dog without supervision or leave them alone with a dog despite the fact that the owner says the dog is "friendly."
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