A dog being trained as a service dog recently attacked and killed the 7-year-old son of its owner for reasons that have not yet been determined. The mother believed that the child was safe around the dog, which had been in the family for 3 months. The dog was a Rottweiler about 4 years old and was euthanized at the family’s request.
Dog bite laws in Wisconsin are uncompromising; if a dog causes injury to a person or domestic animal, or causes damage to property, the dog owner is liable for it under Wis. Stat. Ann. § 174.02 under all circumstances. In the case above, the mother would not face civil litigation but may have faced criminal charges if she had been in any way to blame for the attack. The latest update on the case indicated that the mother was not at fault in the boy’s death.
If the dog had bitten someone else or injured another pet or domesticated animal, however, the dog owner would be liable for the attendant costs, including but not limited to medical expenses, loss of income, loss of value (for death of another animal), or repair costs (for damaged property). Being a dog owner in Wisconsin can be tough, but the fact is pet ownership is a heavy responsibility, especially if the pet is large and/or inherently dangerous to others.
According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® about half of all dog bite cases involve children, perhaps because they are more likely to approach a strange dog without trepidation, or they are less capable of warding off an attack. Even if the victim is partly or wholly responsible for an attack, the dog owner is still the liable party.
If you suffered serious injury or loss because of someone else’s pet dog, then you are probably entitled to compensation under Wisconsin law. Consult with a personal injury lawyer in your area for a better understanding of your legal options.