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PA & NJ Dog Attacks – The Dog Owner’s Duty To Keep Dogs Under Adequate Control

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When I was walking on a trail in my neighborhood the other night, I saw several dog owners walking their dogs on the same trail. 

In particular, I saw a young boy who couldn’t have been more than 8 years old walking a large German Shepherd ahead of me.  The boy was with an adult, presumably his father.  The dog was pulling on the leash, and it appeared that the dog was walking the boy instead. 

When they would pass someone walking or jogging from the opposite direction, the dog would try to run toward the person, and the boy would need to use both hands, struggling to pull the dog back.  One time, a passerby stepped to the side to avoid the dog from jumping on him, and he lost his balance and almost fell to the ground.

I couldn’t help but think that at some point, the dog was going to get away from the boy, lunge and hurt a passerby.  

Sure enough, a little later, the dog got away from the little boy.  Fortunately, the dog did not hurt someone.  Rather, the dog saw something behind the bushes and suddenly ran toward the bushes.  The boy could not hold on to the leash, and he let go of the leash.  The man and the boy ran after the dog and pulled the dog out of the bushes. 

If the dog had gotten away from the boy, lunged and attacked another person, the owner of the dog may have been responsible for the person’s injuries.

The victim attacked by the dog, if injured, may bring a lawsuit against the dog owner to recover for his injuries and damages.  The owner of the dog could be negligent in the following ways:

  • failing to keep the dog under proper and adequate control;
  • allowing the dog to lunge and attack a person;
  • failing to properly train and/or socialize the dog;
  • failing to properly instruct a minor on how to properly and safely control the dog while it is in a public place; or
  • walking the dog while distracted, i.e., talking or texting on a cell phone.

Dog owners in NJ and PA must keep their dogs under proper and adequate control.  Having a child walk a dog that is much bigger than the child increases the chance that the dog may get away and attack someone.

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Dog owners may be liable for the victim’s damages which include medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.  In addition, if the victim needs surgery in the future to remove scars, the dog owner may be responsible for those medical expenses as well.

Help After A Dog Attack

If you were attacked or bitten by a dog in PA or NJ, talk to the personal injury lawyers at White and Williams LLP.  Daniel J. O’Brien, Esq. has helped numerous dog attack victims recover for their damages and injuries.  Call 877.944.8396 to schedule a FREE consultation.

Category: Dog Bite Cases


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