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In Arizona, if your policy reads like my company's, your homeowners insurance will pay for any damages caused by your dog, including vet bills for the dog that was attacked. I worked with a client in this exact same situation. Of course if you put a claim in on someone's insurance for such damages you have to be ok with the fact that 99% of the time that insurance company will cancel the policy or non-renew it. There will be permanent insurance records that the dog is a "biter."

 

As far as dog parks go, yes you take a risk when you go, but an attack is not necessarily your fault. IMHO just because the attack is not your fault doesn't mean you shouldn't prepare for one. Here is my poor attempt at an analogy: Every time you get in your car you are running the risk of getting into an accident. Whether the accident is caused by another person's lack of attention or blatant negligence, mechanical failure, or even an animal jumping in front of your car you still get into your car and take a risk every time you drive. Yet, you still prepare yourself for an accident by paying for insurance, wearing your seat belt, and even buying a safer car.

 

The same goes for the dog park. Every time DH and I go we run the risk that something could happen, and we know it. That is why we go when very few to no other people and dogs are there. We always go together, and we both know how to read our own dog's body language. We have both gotten very good about reading the signs as to when things are going to escalate and when the tension levels increase in our dogs and other's. If we see the slightest increase we move our location or leave. We have never brought pepper spray, but it sounds like an outstanding idea that we will do from now on. You may not be able to control if your dog is going to be attacked, but if you know there is a chance you can control how prepared you are for the situation. Personally I don't consider preparing for the worse a negative, I find it a way to enjoy whatever I am doing even more, but then again I do work in insurance. :D

 

I hope Bandit is ok. Lance please keep us updated.

 

 

ETA: :rolleyes: DH and I are always those people you see on day hikes with extra water, first aid kit, extra food, matches, a lighter, mirror and cell phones. You'll have to excuse my be prepared motto here. We can't control everything, darn it, but if we can try and control part of it we will. :D

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Wow, Lance, I'm sorry to hear about Bandit's experience. I'm glad you took him to the vet to get checked out! How is he today?

 

As for the woman with the attacking dog - of course she should pay your vet bills. None of my dogs has ever damaged anything/anyone - but my one little paint horse sure has. :rolleyes: And I always just write the check and offer a prayer of thanks that it wasn't worse.

 

I don't know if she has to pay, though - that depends on your state law. In my state, I'd be calling her homeowner's insurance and telling them her damn dog cost me some money.

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Oops, sorry for misunderstanding!

 

Now (and this is not PC), I have much less sympathy for someone who deliberately and knowingly puts themself or their dog into a hazardous situation, and that's another issue, I hope.

 

 

Anyone who walks out their door enters into a hazardous situation. It simply cannot be avoided. It doesn't matter whether you're driving to work, going rock climbing or the dog park. However there is a reasonable expectation that when you are out for a walk or going to the dog park that you will be more or less safe from untoward incidents. By entering the dogpark posted or not you agree to accept some of that responsibility. That means a if you bring a dog that's aggresive to the park then you are responsible totally. If that dog attacks someone or another dog you are also responsible totally. Going to the dog park is the same as going to a public park. I don't expect to be attacked by some lunatic because he's having a bad day but people do go postal. So it's up to you the individual to watch not only your dogs but others as well.

 

I go to the dog park on occasion. I don't know why I just do. I have often driven by and not stopped because I don't like the way it appears today. I have also found that at another non-dog park where people run their dogs that the dogs are not aggressive like some of the dogs I run into at the dog park.

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I just went through a situation recently where I was attacked and bitten by a dog. My middle dog attacked the dog that bit me and caused some damage. I was on public property when this happened and the dog that attacked me had broken out of his enclosure / yard to get to me. This same dog also has quite a wrap sheet with local authorities. Sounds cut and dry right, no. Laws may be different where you live but here is what it comes down to for me.

The dog and owner of the dog that bit me are at fault. The owner did not provide proper security and was warned previously to do so. The owner is liable, simple. However, my dog was off leash in a public place when he attacked the other dog so in a warped way I am responsible for my dog attacking the other dog. I am also perhaps responsible since my dog was off leash for inviting the attack by the other dog. Had my dog been on leash and I was trying to protect myself it would be a different story.

This incident has set me on a quest to fully understand my local dog laws including dog parks and to perhaps make them better. Our local park is not policed but the land is owned by the city. If it were policed the city in some ways could be held liable for dog attacks. The policy is that you use the park at your own risk no matter what happens. If a dog which is off leash attacks another dog the owner can be fined only for having the dog off leash yet the dog park is an off leash park. It is assumed that there is some level of risk that everyone is responsible for on their own. If a dog bites a person anywhere in the community including the park the dog can be put down.

As I understand it in Lance's case had he been visiting my local park and this happened he would have been responsible to assume any and all risks. The owner of the other dog would not be responsible for anything. The owner of the other dog which as I understand is some sort of Pit breed would be responsible to have their dog muzzled and on leash at all times anywhere in the community. If this situation was reported to local authorities the owner of the Pit breed dog could be forced to have the dog put down.

Every community is different of course but in my community there seems to be a high number of dog owners who are idiots and more needs to be done to protect the community from them. I have gone my entire life without ever once being attacked by a dog but in the past year I have been attacked and my dogs have been attacked twice.

I like Rangers idea of carrying items to protect myself and my dogs and respond to a situation in a manner that suits me. In my community should I harm a dog using spray or some other force I am liable and I could be charged, it depends on the circumstances. For example, if I used spray against and attacking dog and I was not attacked I may be responsible to prove the dog was attacking me. If I used spray while being attacked / during the attack then it is fine but I still could be charged for carrying spray. I would bet my community is not much different than most others. This is a confused issue at best. I work with my dogs in public so I need to be aware at all times of what is going on around me and, I need to be prepared to respond should something go wrong.

I strongly suggest that we all stay out of dog parks. I do not use them. I have three dogs. One is reactive and another is more than willing to mix it up. I have a responsibility to keep the public safe and I make every effort to keep my dogs safe. I have adopted the attitude that in my community I have no rights when it comes to my dogs.

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Dog laws will drive you crazy. At the moment I'm gong through a lot of self education into dog law as well.

 

As for your case the answer is a drag leash. I normally let my dogs run with a length 7mm light climbers rope attached to their collars as drag leads. I also have both of them under solid recall, at last. Using your situation as an example I believe your liability would have at least beenlimited if your dog had a leash. If you're walking a dog and holding the lead as taught in most classes it would be easy for you to chose to hold on or let go. In this case you could have said, "I let go" Two questions, Does the leash law limit the length of your lead. I have drag leads in 6', 10' and 25' lengths. The 25' lead is 5mm climbers rope the others 7mm. All have small permanent caribineers at the collar end. The other is some communities say you have to hold on to your leash at all times. To cover myself there I have a 2.5mmx100' drag lead for jin for flat open fields like baseball or soccer pitches.

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Anyone who walks out their door enters into a hazardous situation. It simply cannot be avoided.

I already stated that doing anything (including getting out of bed, and even staying in bed :rolleyes: ) involves risk. However, it is the inherent level of risk that one is able to control to some degree by making sensible choices. Those that place themselves or their dogs deliberately and knowingly into a location or situation that is obviously hazardous, get much less sympathy from me.

 

I may easily be flamed but my "sample case" of this involves a woman who went into a Florida bar some years ago, in a stretch lace, see-through miniskirt with no underwear, had drinks with a man she did not know, went off with him in his pickup, and was shortly raped by the roadside by her "pickup date". Rape in any form is illegal, immoral, and wrong BUT how stupid could a woman be to place herself in that situation and then complain that it was someone else's fault?

 

People need to use common sense and reasonable care. Period. You can't avoid all risk and still be alive. Just do your reasonable best to stack the odds in your and your dog's favor by choosing what you do, where you do it, and how you do it sensibly.

 

I have only taken my dog to one dog park, and it's been years. I did not care to have interactions foisted upon him (and me) by dogs and people that frequented the park - although I was grateful to see that those very people and dogs had a nice facility to use. The dog park my son frequents has, over the course of almost a year, been without incident because the dogs have been well-socialized and the owners have been very responsible. Plus, all of those dogs have had a leash walk to the park, some of mile or two in distance, and so have not just been taken from crate to car to park so they have had a bit of the energy edge worn off first.

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There is a rule of law in my part of the world I think is called reasonable assumption. This rule of law helps to eliminate stupid ambulance chaser law suits and tends to keep payouts down and as I understand it, it is mostly a function of judges to apply. Here is how it works. Everyone must take responsibility for their actions and they cannot delegate responsibility for their actions to anyone else. In this case, a person enters a dog park with a dog and a bad situation occurs such as the persons dog being attacked or a person bitten. The assumption is that the person entering the park is aware or should have made themselves aware as a dog owner of potential dangers. Therefore they are in fact partly responsible for this situation by putting themselves in it. There are laws covering dog attacks and bites and those laws apply but it is not likely a judge would allow any further suite.

Ranger you are a guide, here is a perfect example. I had a customer who slipped on a wet rock while fly fishing and hurt himself so he tried to sue us. We were a lodge, fully insured, gave customers full information and had a waiver. The question in court in front of a judge for the person trying to sue is, have you been fly fishing before, you must be aware that wet rocks are slippery, did you take responsibility and precautions to insure that you did not fall. If you have been fly fishing prior you then have a responsibility to know the dangers, you must be responsible for yourself and you cannot pass that responsibility on to another person. The question then becomes what caused the fall and was a situation created by someone else out of your control that caused the fall. The answer is no. In other words you can't run around claiming ignorance and placing blame and expect to collect a bunch of money.

We had another person threaten to sue because while being guided his party encountered a grizzly bear. He claimed that he was scared and was placed in a potentially dangerous situation and he was not informed there were bears in the area. Question one, scared, you are responsible for be scared by yourself, were you not aware grizzly bears are scary. Question two, placed in a potentially dangerous situation. The guide is not responsible for the activities of the bears, he took precautions against bear attacks, he was aware of potential danger and the customer was informed he was in bear country. And, the bottom line, nothing happened, no harm came to anyone so what are you bitching about. In my opinion the guy should have pulled out his camera and took some great shots.

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Update:

 

Thanks everyone for your responses, well wishes, information and opinions.

Except for his appearance, Bandit is behaving normal. He does not appear to be traumatized.

 

He is eating a little more that usual. I'm guessing maybe because of loss of blood?

 

Thursday we go to vet for removal of stitches on his head. The ones in his ear are self dissolving.(6 vertical inches inside ear)

 

My hand is doing a little better. I’m able to use it. No pain, but pinky is bent.

 

Lance

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Glad to hear you both will be OK, and especially that Bandit doesn't seem to be taking away a psychological wound from the experience. I hope your finger heals well.

 

I appreciate your post also since it reminded me that if there is a dog fight, it's important to check really thoroughly for puncture wounds since they might not be visible under the dog's coat. It would be awful to have a bad infection develop that could have been prevented by a vet visit.

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Good news Lance. My dog Pete following the dog attack on me where he jumped in to help has been somewhat changed. I am not so sure if is a bad thing but Pete will often spend his nights sleeping at out front door, he has never done that before. He seems to be closer to me and much less willing to venture too far from me. For several days after the attack he seemed rather depressed but he is fine now. We had him to the Vet and he was not injured but the Vet noted that he seemed to be a little less energetic. He seems to be fine now. Good luck.

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