Federal Dogfighting Laws

Among the various forms of animal abuse, dogfighting stands out as a particularly gruesome and inhumane practice. While 57% of people believe dogfighting has never happened in their community, almost 40,000 Americans participate in dogfighting every year.

Despite the multi-million and international dogfighting market, dogfighting is illegal in every state in America. The United States federal government has also taken significant steps to address dogfighting.

History of Dogfighting

Dogfighting has a long and troubling history, dating back to ancient times. By the 12th century, the practice of baiting dogs had grown in popularity in England.

In the United States, dogfighting garnered popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As public awareness grew regarding the brutality of dogfighting, advocates called for legislation to protect animals and public safety.

The Animal Welfare Act

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) in 1966 was one of the most significant pieces of legislation in the fight against dogfighting. The AWA addresses a wide range of animal welfare concerns as well as including explicit provisions for dogfighting. “The AWA makes it illegal to transport, buy, sell, or move dogs for fighting purposes across state lines,” and also regulates the treatment of animals “used in research, exhibition, and commerce.”

The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act

In 2007, the federal government enacted the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act (AFPA); the AFPA amended the AWA and enhanced penalties for those involved in dogfighting activities.

The AFP Act made it a federal criminal offense to sponsor or exhibit an animal in a dogfight or to attend or wager on such an event. The act also criminalized the possession, training, or transfer of animals for fighting purposes. It established penalties of up to three years in prison.

Criminalizing Organized Dogfighting

Congress passed the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act (AFSPA) in 2014. The AFSP act closed a loophole in previous laws by making it a federal offense to attend or bring a minor to an animal fight.

By targeting spectators in addition to those breeding and fighting the dogs, the AFSPA aims to remove the financial support and communal acceptance that fuels the dogfighting industry.

Organizations and Agencies Combatting Dogfighting

Enforcing federal dogfighting laws requires collaboration among various agencies and organizations. The following actively support efforts to combat dogfighting, ensuring those involved in dogfighting to any degree face legal consequences:

  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • U.S. The Marshals Service

The Impact of Federal Dogfighting Laws

By making dogfighting a federal offense, the laws communicate that animal cruelty will not be tolerated and perpetrators will be held accountable for their actions. The strict penalties act as a deterrent and discourage participation in dogfighting, ultimately saving countless animals from a life of abuse and suffering.

Federal laws have also led to increased awareness and education about the ethical treatment of animals. Organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) engage in outreach programs to educate the general public about the consequences and negative impacts of dogfighting.

Continuing the Fight for Dog Welfare

Federal dogfighting laws play an important role in preventing animal cruelty and safeguarding the welfare of dogs. Through various laws, the United States federal government has sent a clear message that dogfighting will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Dogfighting laws have helped reduce the prevalence of dogfighting, protect innocent animals and raise public awareness about the importance of animal welfare. By continuing to enforce these laws and working together, society can strive towards a future where all animals are treated with compassion and respect.

Is Euthanasia Required After a Dog Bite?

Dog bites can be a traumatic and distressing experience, leaving individuals with physical and emotional scars. In some dog bite cases, the severity of the bite can raise questions about the fate of the offending dog. Euthanasia, the act of intentionally ending an animal’s life to alleviate suffering, is often a subject of debate and controversy.

In this post, we will delve into the topic of euthanasia following a dog bite, exploring the factors that influence the choice to end a dog’s life and the alternatives that exist.

The Severity of the Bite Can Determine Euthanasia

When considering euthanasia after a dog bite, the severity of the bite is a crucial factor to assess. Not all dog bites are created equal, ranging from minor nips to more severe and life-threatening injuries or even death. The severity of the bite plays a significant role in determining the necessity of euthanasia.

Minor Bites

If the bite is minor, such as a nip without breaking the skin or causing significant injury, euthanasia is unlikely to be required. In such cases, behavior modification, training, and responsible pet ownership can often address any underlying issues to prevent future incidents.

Severe Bites

If the bite is severe, causing significant injury or posing a threat to the victim’s life, euthanasia for the animal may be considered. The decision to euthanize the animal is primarily made to ensure public safety and prevent future harm. Veterinarians or animal behaviorists should be consulted to evaluate the dog’s behavior and determine the best course of action.

The Dog’s Behavior

Understanding the dog’s behavior is crucial when making a decision about euthanasia. Isolated incidents of aggression resulting from fear or pain do not necessarily indicate a need for euthanasia. “If a dog now has at least two biting incidents on its record due to the most recent dog bite, it can be euthanized after a court hearing,” note dog bite lawyers at Rosenthal Law, “If it is found that a dog was raised to fight or trained as an attack dog, it can be euthanized after a single bite if the incident caused serious injuries.” A hearing regarding euthanasia for an attack dog would also be required before action is taken.

Dogs may bite due to a variety of factors, including fear, resource guarding, or territorial instincts. It is essential to evaluate whether the bite was an isolated incident or part of a pattern of aggression.

Alternatives to Euthanasia

Euthanasia might be considered if the dog has a history of aggressive behavior and poses a significant risk to others. It is vital to consider other factors as to why the dog bit, such as the dog’s environment, socialization, training, and the owner’s ability to manage and rehabilitate the dog.

In some cases, rehoming the dog to a specialized facility or a more experienced owner may be viable alternatives to euthanasia.

Euthanasia should not be viewed as the only option following a dog bite. There are alternative courses of action that prioritize the dog’s well-being while still ensuring public safety. Some alternatives include:

  • Behavior modification and training: Professional help, such as working with a qualified dog trainer or behaviorist, can address underlying issues that led to the aggressive behavior and help modify the dog’s behavior.
  • Rehabilitation and rehoming: In cases where the dog’s behavior can be managed and improved, rehoming the dog to a suitable environment with experienced owners can provide a second chance for a happy and safe life.
  • Placement in a specialized facility: Dogs with severe behavior issues can be placed in specialized facilities where they can receive professional care and training to address their specific needs.
  • Legal and safety measures: Strict regulations and enforcement of responsible pet ownership, such as leash laws, muzzle requirements, and mandatory training for certain breeds, can help prevent future incidents and ensure public safety.

Determining whether euthanasia is required after a dog bite is a complex decision that should be carefully evaluated based on the severity of the bite, the dog’s behavior, and other relevant factors. While euthanasia may be necessary in cases where public safety is at risk, striking a balance between compassion, responsibility and safety is essential when addressing the aftermath of a dog bite.

Understanding the Safety Concerns of Dog Walking Apps

Technology has influenced our daily lives in many aspects of today’s society. With this being said, pet services are being revolutionized by technology. Dog walking apps specifically have provided pet owners to connect with professional dog walkers. These apps offer convenience and flexibility for people living busy lives. It is essential to understand the safety concerns associated with the usage of dog-walking apps. This article discusses potential safety issues and provides insights on how to navigate them effectively.

  1. Verification and Screening Process:

A major safety concern with dog walking apps is ensuring the reliability and trustworthiness of a dog walker. There is an initial screening process and verification for potential walkers. Here are some questions to consider: 

  • Does the app conduct comprehensive background checks on walkers?
  • Do they verify references and credentials?
  • What measures are in place to ensure the walker’s experience and knowledge of handling dogs?

The more you understand the app’s vetting process, the users can make informed decisions and choose reliable walkers for their pets.

  1. Real-Time Updates and Tracking:

Transparency and accountability are crucial when it comes to the safety of our furry friends. Look for dog-walking apps that offer real-time updates and tracking features. These features allow owners to monitor the walk’s progress, including the route taken, duration, and any unexpected delays. Regular updates provide peace of mind and reassurance that your pet is in safe hands.

  1. Insurance Coverage:

Accidents can happen, even with the most experienced dog walkers. It is essential to inquire about insurance coverage provided by the app or the individual walkers. Ask questions like:

  • What type of insurance coverage is offered?
  • Are both the dog and the walker protected in case of any mishaps?
  • What is the process for filing a claim in the event of an incident?

Understanding the insurance policy ensures that you and your pet are adequately protected.

  1. User Reviews and Ratings:

User reviews and ratings are valuable tools for assessing the reliability and safety of dog-walking apps. Take the time to read through reviews and pay attention to both positive and negative experiences shared by other users. Look for patterns or recurring concerns that may raise red flags. Authentic feedback from other pet owners can provide valuable insights into the app’s safety track record.

  1. In-App Communication and Support:

An effective dog-walking app should provide clear and direct communication channels between users and walkers. Ensure that the app has a built-in messaging system or a helpline to address any concerns or emergencies that may arise during the walk such as a dog bite.

Dog Bite Injury Claims and Costs

With nearly 90 million pet dogs in the United States, dog bites pose a serious threat to everyday safety. Out of the over 4.5 million dog bites that occur each year in the US, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) projects that less than 1 million seek out some form of medical attention. This is particularly concerning considering the importance of medical documentation when proving the full extent of an injury within an injury claim process. Understanding some of the statistics and concerns behind the severity of dog bites will help you move forward with a potential personal injury lawsuit.

The Cost of Dog Bite Injury Claims

Per the Insurance Information Institute (III), homeowner insurance providers incurred $1,136 million in dog bite or dog bite injury related liability claims in 2022. Since 2013, the average cost per claim has reached $64,555 and increased over 131 percent. Overall, ever increasing medical costs has contributed to the serious insurance risk of dog bite injuries and the significant settlement amounts reported annually. This data suggests a potentially alarming trend that makes dog bite safety, prevention, and awareness incredibly important in any effort to limit the damages caused to victims.

Dog Bite Injury Victim Statistics

Despite less than 1 million of the projected dog bite injuries resulting in reported medical attention in 2022, victims are still paying the price. The average cost of a dog bite injury related hospital visit costs an estimated 50 percent more than an average visit. Without being able to prove the negligence or liability of another party, the total average cost of $18,200 for a dog bite related hospital stay could be left for a victim to pay. In fact, it’s estimated that dog attack victims bear over $1 billion in financial losses annually

Proving Negligence in a Dog Bite Injury

Largely the amount of compensation available to a specific dog bite injury depends on the circumstance surrounding what happened and the state legislation where the injury took place. However, there are some important and helpful key elements to proving negligence in a dog bite injury claim:

– establishing duty of care that the defendant owed the respective victim 

– proving that the defendant breached their duty of care due to their actions or lack thereof

– determining that the outlined negligent act caused the injury 

– clearly establish damages relating to the injury and expenses that are recoverable

Another key area of injury claims in general is identifying your state’s statute of limitations will dictate the amount of time that an accident victim has to file suit against a negligent individual. This will provide a timeline where the potential for legal actions relating to dog bite injuries.

Strict Liability in Dog Bite Lawsuits

Dog ownership brings joy, companionship, improved health and many additional benefits to individuals and families. However, the privilege of owning a dog comes the responsibility to ensure public safety. Dog attacks can cause severe physical and emotional harm to victims, leading to long-lasting consequences.

Many state and local jurisdictions have implemented strict liability laws in dog bite lawsuits to help protect dog bite victims.

Understanding Strict Liability

Strict liability, as applied to dog bite cases, holds dog owners legally responsible for injuries caused by their pets, regardless of the owner’s knowledge or fault. Under strict liability laws, the focus shifts from proving negligence to establishing ownership and causation. “The plaintiff will not have to prove the negligence of the defendant in order to recover compensation,” note injury attorneys at Manchin Ferretti Injury Law, “this means that a defendant can be held financially responsible for damages even if they are not necessarily negligent.”

If a dog bites or otherwise injures someone, the owner can be held liable for the resulting damages, regardless of whether they were aware of the dog’s poor behavior or had taken appropriate actions to prevent an attack.

The Purpose of Strict Liability

The primary purpose of strict liability in dog bite lawsuits is to protect the interests of victims. It recognizes that victims of dog bites often suffer physical injuries, emotional distress, medical expenses and loss of income. Strict liability ensures that these victims receive compensation for their damages, enabling them to recover and rebuild their lives. Strict liability also encourages responsible dog ownership by emphasizing the importance of preventing dog-related incidents through training, socialization and responsible enclosures.

Impact on Dog Owners

Strict liability laws impose a significant burden on dog owners, as they are held financially accountable for any harm caused by their animals. Accountability under strict liability incentivizes responsible ownership, prompting owners to take necessary precautions to prevent their dogs from causing harm. It encourages dog owners to train and socialize their dogs, properly restrain them in public spaces, and educate themselves about the signs of aggression. By doing so, dog owners can reduce the likelihood of their pets biting or attacking others and avoid legal and financial consequences.

Exceptions & Defenses to Strict Liability

While strict liability places the onus on dog owners, there are certain exceptions and defenses that may be applicable in dog bite cases. If the victim was trespassing, provoking the animal, or engaging in unlawful activities, the owner may have a defense against liability.

Some jurisdictions have specific laws regarding working or law enforcement dogs that may provide exemptions or different standards of liability. It is essential for both dog owners and victims to consult local laws and seek legal advice to fully understand their rights and responsibilities.

Promoting Public Safety

Strict liability laws also play a vital role in promoting public safety. By holding dog owners accountable for their pets’ actions, communities can enjoy greater peace of mind. Stricter liability standards create a deterrent effect, as owners are motivated to prevent their dogs from causing harm due to the potential financial and legal consequences. A possible outcome is fewer dog-related incidents and enhancement of public safety, particularly in areas where children or elderly individuals are present.

Owning a Dog is a Privilege

Strict liability in dog bite lawsuits strikes a balance between protecting victims and promoting responsible dog ownership. By shifting the burden of proof from the victim to the owner, it ensures dog bite victims receive compensation for their injuries and damages. Strict liability also encourages dog owners to take precautions to prevent their pets from poor behavior, ultimately fostering a safer environment for both humans and animals. Strict liability laws serve as a reminder that owning a dog is a privilege accompanied by the responsibility to prioritize public safety and the well-being of everyone.

How To Buy Safe Toys For Your Dog


Our beloved dogs are more than pets, they are family. We cuddle with them on the couch, take them out on family outings, and play with them all day. Our fur babies feel the happiest when they are playing with their toys. As responsible dog owners, we must prioritize the safety of our dogs, especially when it comes to their toys. Sad to say that not all toys are designed to keep our dogs safe. We have some tips when buying safe dog toys for your fur baby.

Types of Dog Toys To Avoid

  • Dog toys made from toxic material.

First, make sure that the material of the toy is safe for consumption. Some dogs tend to chew their toys into smaller, easily swallowable pieces. If your dog has eaten their toys in the past, you may want to stay away from dog toys made from the following toxic materials:

  • Lead
  • BPA
  • PVC
  • Chromium
  • Phthalates
  • Bromine

Dogs that have ingested these toxic materials may have serious health issues like organ damage/failure and in the worse scenario, death. If your dog ate any of these toxic materials, we recommend calling your veterinarian immediately.

  • Dog toys that are too small or too big.

Additionally, it is important to consider your dog’s breed and size when buying a toy for them. For large dog breeds such as Bernese mountain dogs, great Dane dogs, and English mastiff dogs, you would not want to buy small dog toys because it could pose a choking hazard for them. Alternatively, you would not want to buy big dog toys for small dog breeds such as Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, or Maltese dogs because large toys are too heavy for smaller dogs to play with safely.

  • Dog toys that are not durable.

Equally important to the appropriate size of dog toys would be the durability of the toy. As a dog parent, you know your dog’s play style the best. If you have a dog with a softer play style, you can buy the cuddly plush dog toys. On the other hand, if you have a dog with a rougher play style, you would want to buy durable toys made from rubber or nylon and avoid plush dog toys made from polyester. Dogs with a rougher play style can easily rip apart plush toys and may eat toxic materials.

Types of Safe Dog Toys

  • Rubber Chew Toys

Rubber chew toys are perfect for dogs with a rough play style. Rubber is durable and can withstand dogs who love to chew their toys. Not only are rubber chew toys safe for dogs, it can also maintain your dog’s good oral hygiene. ‘When your dog is playing with a rubber chew toy, it is cleaning your dog’s teeth.

  • Rope Toys

Rope toys are another great toy for dogs with a rough play style, especially for dogs that love to play tug-of-war. Similar to playing with rubber chew toys, your dog’s teeth get cleaned while playing with rope toys.

  • Tennis Balls

The classic game of fetch with a tennis ball is perfect for every dog. Make sure you buy the right size for your dog’s breed.

  • Interactive Toys

Interactive toys like puzzles and treat dispensing toys can entertain your dog for hours. These types of toys can be mentally stimulating for your dog and decrease destructive behavior such as dog bites.

Your dog deserves safe and entertaining toys that they can play with anytime. A dog bite attorney from NW Injury Law explains that by keeping your dog occupied with toys, you can prevent them from engaging in dangerous behaviors such as biting other humans.

Does Workers’ Compensation Cover On-The-Job Dog Bites?

Worker’s compensation is insurance that covers employees who get injured or fall ill on the job. This means that if an employee is bitten or injured by a dog while on the clock, they should be covered by workers’ comp. This is assuming that their employer has workers’ comp insurance, which most employers are required to have, barring a few exceptions depending on the location and type of employer.

Employees That Encounter Dogs

It may sound unusual to be bit by a dog at work, but plenty of workers encounter dogs on the job. Occupations such as postal carriers, delivery drivers, contractors, landscapers, utility workers, cable/internet techs, police officers, and home health care workers might come across dogs while working. According to the USPS, over 5,400 postal workers experienced a dog attack in 2021. Even office workers can encounter a dog if employees are permitted to bring their dogs to work.

If you are bit by a dog, your first step should be to try and put distance between you and the dog. Once you are safe, check your wounds, apply pressure if necessary, and call 911 for medical help. If you are able to take photos of your injuries and the scene, it can be extremely helpful in filing a successful claim.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

As stated above, if you were injured by a dog during work hours, you should be eligible for workers’ compensation. After reporting the injury to your employer, request a workers’ compensation form. You should also seek medical treatment as soon as possible, for your own health as well as to document your injuries. Once your claim is approved, you can collect compensation to cover your medical expenses, any lost wages, and other potential damages such as vocational rehab. If your claim is not approved for some reason, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer like those at Kemmitt, Sanford & Kramer for help appealing the decision.

If you are an independent contractor, you are unfortunately not eligible for workers’ compensation. Instead you will need to file a third party lawsuit.

Third Party Lawsuits

In addition to a workers’ comp claim, you may also be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. This will apply if you were bitten by a dog at your office or on public property while performing a job duty. Dog owners are responsible for their dogs, so speak to an injury lawyer about filing a lawsuit against the owner. Personal injury lawsuits are based on negligence, so you will be successful if you can prove that the dog owner was negligent in protecting you from their dog.

If the injury occurred on private property, the type of personal injury lawsuit will be a premises liability lawsuit. Property owners have a responsibility to protect people who are working on their property from harm. Once you prove that the property owner was negligent, you will be able to recover compensation from the owner’s insurance company. Since workers’ compensation does not cover pain and suffering damages, a third party lawsuit may be necessary to compensate you for these.

By filing either one or both of these types of injury claims, you should be able to recover compensation for your workplace dog bite injury and begin the healing process.

Worst Mistakes to Make After a Dog Bite Injury

Dog bites can cause serious long-term physical and emotional damage to their victims. In order to ensure full and fair monetary compensation for all available damages, informed victims should be cautious of these costly mistakes.

Delaying Medical Attention  

It’s important to make sure to seek medical attention for your injuries right away. Delaying medical care can be detrimental to a victim’s health, as well as increase the risk of infection. This also makes it more complicated when attempting to prove the severity of your dog bite during an insurance claim. Medical bills, paired with police reports, can provide substantial physical documentation to your injury claim and potential lawsuit. 

Forgetting to Collect Evidence 

Even though delaying immediate medical care is a mistake, leaving the scene of the bite too quickly can seriously impact the strength of a dog bite injury lawsuit as well. Even if the immediate injury doesn’t appear serious, collecting evidence at the scene can prevent you from being liable for any medical expenses. This may include:

  • Pet owner’s name and contact information
  • Photographs of where the bite happened
  • Photographs of the dog
  • Photographs of the victim’s injuries
  • Witness information

Admitting Fault  

Admitting fault under any circumstances can negatively affect your potential case. While collecting your own evidence is important, any implication of negligence such as “it’s okay” or “I shouldn’t have petted them” hurts your legal case as a dog bite victim. These matters can be discussed when going over your case details with a qualified personal injury attorney, along with other important case details. 

Settling with Insurance Companies

If the dog owner is insured, dog bite victims may quickly hear back from insurance companies attempting to settle an injury claim immediately. Doing so can prevent your ability to pursue future legal options involving more substantial and fair compensation. Refrain from signed formal documents or statements until you know the full extent or your injuries and case circumstances. 

Important Qualifiers for Dog Bite Lawsuits

After suffering a dog bite injury, you may have legal options involving compensation. Dog bite lawsuits have a few necessary qualifiers that are important to outline and understand.

  • Proof of liability or negligence causing the bite injury. This involves using collected evidence, police reports, witnesses, and other information to prove that the dog owner can be held accountable for a victim’s injuries. Assigning fault can vary based on defined state specific dog bite liability statutes
  • Have specific recoverable damages outlined. For any type of personal injury case, there are numerous types of damages that are potentially recoverable. These are based on injury extent, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, inconvenience, or loss of future earnings.  


How to Safely Vacation With Your Dog

Vacationing can be an excellent way to relieve some of the pressure and stress that mounts up throughout the year. Whether you’re booking a hotel room a few towns over or travelling to an entirely different country, some time spent exploring new places can be great fun for you and your loved ones. However, if you are a dog owner, you may be wondering what you should do with your pet while you’re away from the home.

In some instances, it may be difficult to travel with your dog. If your dog gets anxious in the car, is scared to be around people, or exhibits signs of stress when outside of a familiar environment, it may be in their best interest to stay with a trusted caretaker or at a kennel while you are away. Should your dog be up for the adventure, you may find it rewarding to bring them on your trip with you. In this article, we discuss some of the factors that need to be considered when bringing your dog with you on a trip.

Check With Your Veterinarian Before Committing to Bringing Your Pet

Before you decide that you are going to bring your pet on vacation with you, confirm with your veterinarian that they are healthy enough for the trip. Your dog must be prepared to handle the rigors of travel and needs to be current on their vaccinations. Discuss your vacation destination with the veterinarian as well, so they can create a health plan that protects your pet from any dangerous conditions in the area(s) you will be in. Having the correct parasite protection and medications for the place you’re traveling to can help your dog stay healthy and happy.

Check That Your Dog’s Identification is Accurate

Dogs are naturally curious animals, and all the new sights, smells, and sensations at your vacation destination may tempt them to run off. Should your dog run away and become lost, you want their identification to be up-to-date. Make sure that your phone number and address are on an ID tag on your pet’s collar, so someone can get in touch with you if they find your dog. A microchip offers an additional layer of protection by ensuring that a shelter or veterinarian’s office can identify your pet and contact you.

Take Advantage of Crate Training

In most circumstances, you’ll want to keep your dog safely confined in a crate while travelling. Your pet won’t be able to get underfoot or provide a distraction, while they are simultaneously protected from physical dangers during the transportation period. To ensure that your dog is as comfortable as possible, make sure the crate has enough space for them to stand, lay down, and turn about. Make sure to prepare your pet by implementing crate training at home well in advance of your trip. This minimizes the stress they will face throughout the duration of your travels.

Determine the Most Efficient Method of Transportation

You may be wondering what the best method of transportation is for your upcoming trip. Is it better to drive to your destination since your pet has some familiarity with trips in the car? Or should you bring your dog on a plane, since the overall travel time will be substantially shorter? The answer is different for every owner, but we’ve included some things to be mindful of when it comes time to decide on a travel method.

Taking a Plane Flight

If you are flying to a travel destination within the United States, you will need a Certification of Veterinary Inspection and possibly an acclimation certificate to get your pet onboard the plane. These may only be received from an accredited veterinarian. In essence, these documents assert that your dog is in good health and does not show signs of diseases that may pass to people or other animals. International travel may necessitate additional paperwork and even a quarantine period, so make sure to check your vacation destination’s rules and regulations well in advance of your trip.

Small dogs may oftentimes accompany you in the plane’s cabin, whereas large breeds will likely need to travel in the cargo bay. Try to schedule your flight for a time of day when the weather will not be too hot or cold, so your dog has the most comfortable transition possible.

Driving to Your Destination

If you decide to drive to your destination, your pet should be secured in a crate. Doing so keeps them from distracting the driver or being thrown if the vehicle comes to an abrupt stop. If your dog has a harness that fastens to a seatbelt, you may alternatively choose to have them ride in a seat. Avoid having your dog in the passenger seat when possible, since the airbag can cause serious or fatal harm if it deploys.

Enjoy Safe Travels With Your Pet

If you decide to bring your dog with you on your travels, it’s important to try to limit the stress they are under. Tiano O’Dell PLLC notes that a dog that is stressed is more likely to exhibit dangerous or aggressive behavior, and nothing can ruin a vacation quicker than an accidental bite! We hope that this guide helps you enjoy your next trip with your four-legged companion, wherever that adventure may take you.

Who’s Liable When a Dog is Hit by a Car?

As a dog owner, you always strive to protect your pet and keep them safe. However, despite the efforts and best intentions of even the most experienced owners, sometimes a situation arises where a pet is exposed to danger. According to a study put together by Pet Playgrounds, approximately 1.2 million dogs are killed by motor vehicles in the U.S. every year. Even if a dog is fortunate enough to survive being struck by a car, it is almost certain that they will suffer serious injuries in the collision.

We hope that you never have to deal with the aftermath of your beloved pet being hit by a car. However, if your pet is involved in a collision, we put together this guide to help you understand how liability is determined in such a situation. Please note that this guide does not cover all possible scenarios and seek out experienced, local counsel for your unique case.

How Are Dogs Struck by Motor Vehicles?

Dogs tend to be curious, even if they spend most of their time indoors. Your dog may see something they want to chase, such as the neighbor’s cat or a squirrel. Unfortunately, this can put them in danger if they incidentally put themselves in the path of an oncoming car. If the driver is traveling over the speed limit or is distracted, they may find themselves unable to stop their car in time to avoid a collision. In some cases, a dog may unexpectedly run out in front of a motor vehicle, leaving the driver no way to avoid striking them.

In some cases, dogs and other pets may sleep underneath a parked car for warmth or safety from other animals. The car’s operator may not realize this and attempt to drive away with the animal still under the vehicle, which can easily cause serious or fatal injuries. If you or a family member park your car outside in a residential area where there are likely pets and roaming animals, you should always be sure to check under the vehicle before getting inside.

Analyzing the Circumstances of the Collision

When it comes to animal-related collisions, the underlying circumstances of the crash are incredibly important. Was a dog running free without supervision? Was the responsible motorist driving safely or recklessly at the time of the crash? Were there any underlying factors (low visibility, a poorly designed road, etc.) that played a role in the accident? We discuss some of the animal-related situations that can potentially arise.

  • Unsupervised pet: In most cases, it is a pet owner’s responsibility to protect their dog from traffic. They can do so by using a proper leash, keeping their dog supervised, and ensuring that any open yard space is surrounded by a fence of an appropriate durability and height. Many counties have leash laws that require pets of all types to be tethered to their owner while in public. If an unsupervised pet is struck by a car, it is likely that the owner will be responsible for any ensuing medical bills and potentially even damages to the car.
  • Distracted or impaired driver: A driver’s behavior can determine whether they bear some responsibility for striking someone’s dog. If a driver is on their phone and not paying attention to the road, for example, they may be found responsible for causing a collision that could have reasonably been avoided. Another reason that a driver may be found at least partially liable is if they were impaired at the time of the accident. According to the Rosenstein Law Group, responding officers may begin an investigation into whether the driver was under the influence in the event of a serious accident.
  • Livestock collision: Although not specifically dog-related, livestock crashes do occur with some regularity around farms and in rural areas, so we wanted to discuss this scenario as well. A livestock crash will almost always cause substantially more damage than a collision between a motor vehicle and a household pet. Full-grown cows can weight more than 1,500 pounds and an adult bull can weigh more than 2,000 pounds. Striking one of these animals at a high speed is oftentimes enough to cause serious damage to a car and catastrophic injuries to its passengers.

Does Car Insurance Cover Hitting a Dog or Other Animal?

State laws on pet ownership vary, but many states consider dogs as property when it comes to insurance. If a dog is unsupervised and it runs into the road, it is likely that the owner would be responsible for paying for any ensuing vet bills. However, when a driver is acting recklessly or intentionally strikes an animal, they may be liable for the injured pet’s care. In some cases, the driver’s auto insurance policy may decline to pay for damages if the driver intentionally struck the pet with their car.

Steps to Prevent Your Dog From Being Struck by a Car

Even if you live in a remote area, chances are you and your pets encounter cars daily. To help you protect your dog from traffic, we’ve put together a list of proactive steps you can take to keep them safe.

  1. Teach “wait” and “sit” when you and your dog exit your house or come to a curb. By reinforcing these commands, you reduce the chances of your dog running into the street.
  2. Pay attention when walking your dog and use an appropriate-length lease that does not allow your pet to wander into the path of oncoming cars.
  3. Do not leave your dog unattended in your yard, even if you are confident that they cannot escape. Be particularly mindful of where your dog is during holidays, when your dog might be more stressed or afraid than usual.
  4. Check your surrounding when arriving at or leaving your residence. Verify that there is not an animal under your car before starting the engine and make sure that there are no pets in your path as you back up or park your vehicle.