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Carolina Dog Bites Have Authorities Urging Caution & Common Sense

A rash of Carolina dog bites has authorities preaching caution and common sense.

A Rock Hill dog attack injured a 7-year-old boy, who was bit by a pit bull mix while at a friend’s house, Channel 9 reported. The child had seven stitches put in his cheek and dad is reportedly upset the dog was not seized by Animal Control.The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is notified whenever someone seeks treatment for a dog bite. A spokesman said the dog was not seized because it was the first complaint received by the agency and because the dog was on its own property, which makes it a “provoked attack.”

While South Carolina dog bite law (Section 47-3-110) holds an owner strictly liable for damages resulting from a dog attack, the law is unusual in the it sets forth a “provocation defense.” In this case, the child was reported to be simply walking up to a friend’s door. While the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control may not take action, it’s entirely possible this family has a case under the law. Which reads, in part:

“Whenever any person is bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog while the person is in a public place or is lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog or other person having the dog in his care or keeping, the owner of the dog or other person having the dog in his care or keeping is liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or otherwise attacked.”

Last month, an infant was reported to have been killed by the family dog in Hertford, North Carolina. That dog was also a pit bull mix. It was one of three pit bull attacks reported last month in North Carolina.

North Carolina dog bite law is quite different and goes out of its way to protect dog owners from the kind of dangerous dog behavior that would have resulted in liability as far back as the 1600s. The law (Section 67-12) in North Carolina holds a dog owner strictly liable only if he “intentionally, knowingly and willfully” violates the state’s prohibition against dogs running at large. An experienced dog bite attorney will be in the best position to help you determine your rights.

We are a nation of dog lovers. But unfortunately far too many people are seriously injured by dog bites every year in this country. Children are most at risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 4.5 million people are bitten each year — nearly 1 million will seek medical treatment and more than 30,000 will undergo reconstructive surgery.

The end of the year brings an increased risk of dog attacks for a number of reasons. Children are spending more time inside with dogs. Family gatherings through the holidays increase the risk. And new dogs are often invited into the family.

These cases often involve a beloved pet, or the pet of a neighbor, family member of close friend. In most cases, a Carolina injury lawyer should be consulted. A claim can be made against a homeowner’s insurance policy to reimburse for medical treatment and other damages. Medical complications involving infection and scarring are common and emotional issues in children may also need to be addressed. By documenting the dog bite, you will be protecting your rights to collect damages should unforeseen issues arise.

If you are dealing with a Carolina dog bite claim, contact Grimes Teich Anderson LLP. Call 1.800.533.6845. No Attorney Fees Until You’ve Been Paid.

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