Dog bite may lead to civil liability for Massachusetts pet owner

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2012 | Animal Bites

A previous post on this blog discussed how dog bites have been on the rise this summer in Massachusetts. This increase has been attributed, in part, to animal neglect, such as incidents of dogs being left in the extreme heat without food and water. These cases can lead to an increase in dog bite occurrences, which can result in serious injuries to a victim and possible civil liability for a pet owner.

Recently, a dog attacked a Massachusetts woman on the sidewalk outside of a home and then charged a man who was able to get away by jumping onto his car. The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries. According to authorities, it remains unclear if she will need rabies shots or will suffer any permanent scarring as a consequence of the attack.

At the time of the incident, the dog had not been vaccinated, and it was not registered or on a leash. The dog’s owner faces fines for all three violations. There were also other dogs present at the owner’s residence, but he was not at home during the attack. The fence on the residence held a “Beware of Dog” sign.

Dog bite injury victims may wish to pursue legal action against a dog’s owner to recover damages for the costs of medical bills, rehabilitation and other harm resulting from the attack. Oftentimes, home or car insurance policies will provide some compensation for a party injured by a dog bite. Exclusions in many policies, however, can exist to limit coverage for bites from specific dog breeds or to limit an insurer’s obligation in the event of a first-time bite incident.

Dog bites can lead to serious injury and have a lasting impact on a victim. Those injured in a dog attack should know that they may be able to seek compensation from a dangerous pet’s owner.

Source:, “VIDEO: Brockton police shoot charging pit bull in leg,” Amy Carboneau, Sept. 12, 2012