Cities Have Proper Regulations for the Number of Animals on a Particular Property
Interviewer: Are there any particular animal laws that people have to abide by and know in the event my neighbor owns a large amount of aggressive looking dogs?
Richard Sailer: Yes, that would deal with the specific municipality that has jurisdiction over that area. Cities have regulations in terms of how many dogs can be on a particular property—some of that has to do with the zoning, some of it has to do with city ordinance. It should be a quick call to animal control based on where you’re located and they should be able to advise you in a situation like that to find out whether the animals are licensed and registered, and what the particulars are in terms of the zoning regulations or municipal codes for that particular property.
An Owner is Responsible & Liable for Any Damages Caused by the Animal that They Own
Interviewer: Is the owner responsible for damages caused by all the animals they own?
Richard Sailer: Yes. You’re responsible for any animal that you have in possession. Additionally, you’re responsible to make sure that the safety of the people come first. If somebody’s getting bit by a horse or kicked by a donkey, the owner of that animal has a duty to either warn people of any type of dangerous propensity so they can be safe, or control the animal so it doesn’t harm anyone.
In Rural Areas, People Being Kicked or Bit by Horses is a Fairly Common Incident
Interviewer: Have you seen cases like that where a horse kicked someone?
Richard Sailer: Yes. There are quite a few cases that have been prosecuted where people have been kicked by horses or have been bitten by horses. Usually, those are in a more rural setting or somewhere that’s specifically designated as an equestrian area. Generally, that has to do where the owner of the animal had some prior notice that an animal has a tendency to kick or bite and that they failed to warn the public. The typical signs saying “Don’t pat” or “Don’t feed the animal” are up for a reason because their particular animal may have more of a dangerous propensity than another animal.
The Value of the Claim is the Driving Force in How Quickly a Dog Bite Claim will Settle
Interviewer: What are some factors that are going to make the case more difficult for the client?
Richard Sailer: I would say the value of the case is probably the driving force in how quickly it’s going to settle. Homeowners insurance is like any other insurance company—their job is to protect their own bottom line, and the higher the value of your case the more inclined they are to drag their feet so they can hold on to their money longer.
People May Sometimes Forego Litigating a Dog Bite Claim Due to General Disposition of Avoiding Lawsuits
Interviewer: Do you think a lot of people fail to want to contact an attorney in the first place because they feel that they have too much pride or something along those lines?
Richard Sailer: Yes, I think it cuts both ways. Sometimes, there may be someone who has a significant injury and they’re not inclined to make a case. I think it has more to do with their general demeanor or general disposition. There are people who don’t believe in lawsuits and then there’s people that are advocate for lawsuits— I’ve had calls both ways. I’ve had things where “a dog barked at me and I got scared” to “somebody’s lying on a hospital bed because they’ve been mauled by a Pit Bull”.