Law Office of Frederick J. Sette
Personal Injury Attorney
Serving The Petaluma California Region

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Dealing with the Aftermath of a Serious Petaluma Dog Bite

Attorneys at Sette Law in Petaluma believe that dogs can bring endless joy to their human companions. Many of our Petaluma personal injury lawyers include their dogs as family members. But because of our legal profession, our injury attorneys also witness the harmful results of irresponsible dog owners when we represent someone who has suffered a serious Petaluma dog bite. Our attorneys decided to write this blog about the complexities of dog bite law because it’s a little understood aspect of Petaluma personal injury law.

Sette attorneys remember a few tragic cases that brought national attention to this issue. In fact, one incident took place not far from Petaluma when dog bites left a woman from San Francisco dead.  Across the nation, about 1000 people per day receive dog bites that require medical treatment. Our Petaluma personal injury lawyers say that, although dog owners are usually responsible for the animal’s behavior, pet owners are also protected under the law. Petaluma dog bite attorneys explain that where and why a dog bite was inflicted become important elements in legal actions.

Shared Responsibilities for a Petaluma Dog Bite
When dog bites occur on private property, our Petaluma personal injury attorneys say the owner of the animal may or may not be held liable for the injury. Lawyers may establish that the injured individual was, in fact, trespassing on the property of the dog owner in Petaluma. The personal injury attorney representing the dog owner can argue that in the act of trespassing, the injured plaintiff assumed responsibility for the associated risk. The Petaluma dog bite victim’s lawyer will have to counter the claim that the plaintiff was, at least in part, responsible for the dog bite. Personal injury attorneys say the same principle can hold true for a delivery person who knows that an aggressive canine is present but still chooses to enter the private property. He or she, our Petaluma dog bite lawyers say, could be deemed partly responsible for the attack.

However, Petaluma personal injury lawyers remind dog owners that they bear significant responsibility for public safety. In public venues, it’s the dog owner who is most often liable for the animal’s behavior, according to our dog bite lawyers. Particularly when an owner knows that a dog is capable of aggression, Petaluma dog bite attorneys say that the dog owner has an obligation to protect people from the potential harm of a dog bite. Lawyers suggest that owners of aggressive dogs employ measures such as posting notices or muzzling the animal. Still, a Petaluma dog bite attorney will have to adhere to common law statutes that include the need for the victim’s dog bite attorney to prove the dog’s owner failed to provide adequate public protection.

Petaluma personal injury lawyers add that yet another class of people may be immune from legal action in the event of a dog bite. Attorneys say that individuals employed by a kennel or dog-related service who is aware of the inherent risks of his or her job may not have cause to sue for a Petaluma dog bite injury.

Some Breeds More Closely Linked to Petaluma Dog Bites
Attorneys at Sette Law know that not all dogs of traditionally aggressive breeds will display dangerous behavior. However, national statistics dictate that people exercise caution around a handful of breeds we readily find in Petaluma. Dog bite attorneys quote one study that shows Rottweilers and Pit Bull breeds inflicted 74 percent of all dog bites that caused fatalities in the United States. In addition to these breeds, researchers listed mastiffs, Shar Peis and Boxers as among those most commonly associated with dog bites. Attorneys add that children are most often the victims of Petaluma dog bites (81 percent nationwide) and 76 percent of these attacks ended in death. However, Petaluma personal injury attorneys add that no one is immune, with one of fifty individuals vulnerable to a dog bite. Lawyers report that slightly more than nine percent of the country’s dogs are identified with bite injury or deaths. One nonprofit that tracks dog bite incidents reports that Rottweilers and Pit Bulls inflicted 74 percent of death-related injuries – a troubling statistic that should alarm families in Petaluma.

Dog Bite Attorneys Appeal to Pet Owners
Petaluma personal injury lawyers believe that all pet owners assume a serious responsibility to protect others in our community. Clearly, certain breeds of dogs demand enhanced attention to aggressive behavior that, through training and safety measures, may be mitigated. Our Petaluma dog bite attorneys say that owners who do not provide proper training and attention should know the legal risks they face are serious. At Sette Law, our Petaluma personal injury attorneys have worked with the victims of dog bites. We know the pain and trauma caused by a Petaluma dog bite can last for a lifetime. And, our personal injury lawyers know that irresponsible pet owners contribute greatly to an avoidable incident. Indeed, ownership of a dog requires caring for the animal’s physical needs as well as its behavioral inclinations.

Many of our Petaluma personal injury attorneys are dog owners. And, due to our exposure to dog bite injuries, are well aware of the role we play in molding the behavior of our canine friends. Dog bite lawyers also are aware that some people are thoughtless in their approach to dogs and contribute to the potential for a Petaluma dog bite. Attorneys say that public safety is a shared responsibility, but dog owners bear very significant liability when it comes to a Petaluma dog bite. Our lawyers know that dog bite cases can often be complex and lengthy. They can also be expensive and painful. All the more reason, our Petaluma personal injury attorneys say, for both pet owners and the public to be aware of the risks and responsibilities of dog ownership.

Of course, our personal injury lawyers understand the significant benefits of having a dog in the family. We are aware of the many acts of bravery and loyalty exhibited by our canine companions in Petaluma. Dog bites thankfully are the exception and not the rule when it comes to dog behavior. Nonetheless, being educated about our responsibilities as pet owners only serves to honor the nobility of our “best friends.”