It’s estimated that as many as 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Research shows that a majority of victims are children. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that a dog has bitten half of all children under age 12.
Despite these numbers, there are very few protections for dog bite injury victims—especially in Tennessee. Tennessee dog bite laws only allow a dog owner to be held liable for damages his or her animal causes if the victim can prove the animal has displayed vicious behavior in the past or the attack happened while the dog was loose on public property.
One woman is calling on lawmakers to create more stringent Tennessee dog bite laws after her child was attacked on two separate occasions. An article from WSMV 4 News explains that the Williamson County woman was visiting family with her 4-year-old daughter when a family member’s canine lunged at the child and bit her cheek. Just months before, a similar incident occurred with a dog owned by the same family member.
The child has now endured hundreds of stitches resulting in thousands of dollars in medical bills that the dog owner cannot be held liable for. Since the dogs were in their home and neither had a history of attacking, the owner is not responsible for damages.
Cases like this not only show the need for stricter laws, but also for the public to be more aware of the dangers approaching a strange dog can pose. That’s why the Nashville personal injury lawyers at Ponce Law encourage you to never attempt to pet a dog without asking the owner’s permission first. Also, it can help to educate yourself and your children about the warning signs an aggressive dog may display prior to biting.