Dog ownership can be terribly expensive. Our King Charles Cavalier, Lincoln, or President Lincoln if you are not on familiar terms, has a super-sensitive digestive system, so in addition to being regulars at our vet’s office, he eats prescription dog food and often needs a pill to calm his stomach. A friend of a friend just paid $4,000 to have her dog’s knee repaired after he tore his ACL.
Unfortunately, dogs are costing their owners and insurers even larger sums thanks to a nationwide increase in dog bite claims. Last year alone, dog bite claims accounted for a whopping one-third of all homeowners’ liability claims and totaled nearly $700 million dollars. In addition, the severity of dog bite injuries is increasing as too are the amount of the payouts (either via settlement or court judgments). So what should responsible dog owners do to protect their self and, just as importantly, others?
- First, know your dog and its temperament so that you can take appropriate precautions. For example, if your dog gets territorial when visitors come to your house, put your dog up when you have guests.
- Understand a dog’s temperament can change especially as they age. As eyesight and hearing diminish, dogs can often get startled resulting in a bite.
- Unless you plan on breeding your dog, spay or neuter. Spayed and neutered dogs are less likely to bite.
- Always supervise children and dogs.
- Do not leave your dog tied up outside for long periods of time. Tethered dogs often feel defenseless and can become more prone to bite.
- Take the time to properly socialize your dog as that helps minimize the risk of biting.
- If your dog shows aggressive behavior, address it immediately. Do not ignore it. Talk to your vet or consult a qualified animal trainer.
- Be sure your homeowner’s insurance covers dog bites. Some policies now exclude this coverage especially for certain types of dogs often referred to as bully breeds (Pitbulls, Bull Mastiffs, Rottweilers, etc.) If you are not covered by your homeowner’s policy, stand-alone dog insurance can be purchased from a variety of insurers.
- Tennessee law requires dogs to be “under reasonable control” when out in public. Generally, this is considered to be a leash law. For more information on the details of Tennessee’s dog bite law, click here.
The award-winning lawyers at the Law Offices of John Day have seen the damage a dog bite or dog attack can cause to both children and adults, and we have been privileged to represent these families. If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog, we offer a free and confidential consultation. If we think we can help you and you decide to hire us, we will handle your dog bite case on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if we recover money for you. To pursue your case, you will not have to pay any money out of your own pocket for litigation costs as our firm advances litigation-related expenses.
To get started, contact our experienced attorneys now at 615-742-4880 (Nashville) or 615-867-9900 (Murfreesboro) or 866-812-8787 (toll-free).