Every year thousands of people in Ohio become victims of dog bites and animal attacks which cause serious injury and even death. Although animal attack claims mostly involve dog bites, many other types of domesticated and non-domesticated animals such as cats, exotic pets (bears, lions, lizards, poisonous snakes, etc.), and farm animals also bite or injure people. Innocent children are particularly susceptible to injury since they do not recognize the potential danger that some animals pose. Due to the fact that animals often react upon instinct, people should exercise caution around unfamiliar animals to avoid being bitten or attacked.
When an animal attack occurs, the owner and keeper of that animal may be held responsible for any injury that animal caused. Bite victims are usually entitled to compensation for physical, economic and emotional injuries, even if the animal has never bitten anyone before and the owner had no idea that the animal would bite or attack. In Ohio, there are also special laws that are applicable to dog bites and vicious dogs. Vicious dogs are considered any dog that kills or seriously injures someone, without regard to the dog’s breed. Owners of dangerous and vicious dogs must maintain liability insurance of at least $100,000 for any injuries the dog may cause.
Dangerous Dog Breeds
Over the span of a decade, canines killed 392 people in the United States. These victims include many infants, children, and the elderly. According to the data, certain breeds are responsible for the vast majority of serious and fatal dog attacks. Pit bulls and rottweilers are at the top of the dangerous breeds list, contributing to 76% of all recorded canine-related deaths between 2005 and 2016. With this knowledge, many states enact breed-specific laws in an effort to increase safety. Ohio is one such state with banned breeds in different counties.
Banned Dog Breeds in Ohio Cities
Ohio has dozens of pit bull ordinances that restrict or ban this breed in the state. Laws in almost every Ohio city exist to declare pit bulls either “dangerous” or “vicious,” with subsequent bans, restrictions, and ownership rules in place. Owners must obey these rules or face fines, penalties, and possible liability for animal attacks. Many cities ban pit bull ownership altogether, including:
- Brook Park (also bans American bulldogs and presa canarios)
- Garfield Heights
- Lakewood (also bans presa canarios)
Cities with restrictions on dangerous breeds enact a variety of rules on owners of these dogs. For example, the city of Akron has restrictions in place that make owners of dangerous breeds strictly liable in the event that the dog is at large, bites or attempts to harm a person or animal, causes property damage, bites or physically harms a person or domestic animal. The only exception is if the attack victim provoked the dog by teasing, tormenting, or abusing the animal, or if the victim was attempting to commit criminal trespass on the owner’s premises.
Ohio’s Dog Bite Laws
The state of Ohio asserts certain rules in the event of dog bites and other harms from canines. These cases may involve the legal doctrines of negligence, scienter, or intentional tort. Ohio abides by strict liability dog bite laws, which make the dog owner (or harborer/keeper) liable for the actions of the dog. Legal doctrines make it possible for dog bite victims to recover compensation through the “one bite rule,” which hold the owner liable if he/she knew or reasonably should have known about the dog’s propensity to bite.
Another route a dog bite victim could take is to sue on the grounds of negligence. If the dog’s owner failed to prevent a foreseeable attack (i.e. by securely confining the dog), it may be possible to file a claim under the negligence doctrine, or negligence per se. Negligence per se refers to presumed negligence in the event that the dog’s owner violates a state or city statute. A look at the specific dog breed laws in your area could give you an idea of whether you can sue for negligence per se.
Owning a dog that’s on Ohio’s banned or restricted breed list comes with very specific directions according to municipal statutes. If a dog owner breaks any of these rules, resulting in a dog bite or other canine-related harm, the courts will likely rule in the victim’s favor. To learn more about restricted dogs in your city and your potential legal opportunities after a dog attack, speak to an attorney.
Contact a Dayton Dog Bite Attorney
Often times, dog bite and animal attack cases involve complicated legal issues regarding insurance coverage, premises location of the bite incident and governmental immunity issues involving police K-9’s. The Brannon Law Firm is highly experienced in representing people who have been bitten or attacked by animals. If you are the victim of a dog bite or animal attack, our attorneys can provide accurate advice and information specific to your case. Call our offices today for a free consultation.