A recent series of dog attacks, including one that wounded an off-duty Secret Service agent and his dog, have left Northwest Washington, D.C. residents worried they or their own animals might be next. Although authorities made assurances they would quell the problem, locals are none the less concerned.
The Secret Service agent harmed was supposed to be providing protection to Secretary Hillary Clinton, but is instead off for two weeks while he received rabies vaccinations and recovers from his injuries. No indication has been given the pitbulls in this case were caught.
In another pitbull attack last summer, one man was hurt so bad it sent him to the hospital. Police on the scene shot one dog and hit another with their cruiser but the dogs eluded capture. Officers later caught one and tracked another to it's owner's home. Although the dogs' owner surrendered the animals without resistance, he soon purchased two more pitbull puppies.
The second pair of pitbulls also escaped the man's home after he claimed his elderly grandmother left a door open. The dogs soon ran a muck, harassing locals. Police eventually intervened and forced the dogs' owner to have them nurtured and registered as potentially dangerous dogs.
Under Washington, D.C. law, once dogs are designated by animal control as potentially dangerous, owners may face fines and criminal charges if the animals are not neutered or kept contained. The process to have dogs labeled as potentially dangerous can be excruciatingly slow for residents fearful of their safety.
Section 8-1808 of the DC Code prohibits dog owners from letting their animals run at large (of leash and of premises). Section 8-1812 holds defendants may not claim lack of knowledge about a dog's propensity for vicious behavior as a defense for negligence, giving victims a legal avenue to press charges.
In some circumstances, owners of dog that commit attacks may only be held liable if he or she knew the dog was dangerous. Section 8-1812 of the DC code takes away this defense.
DC dog bite laws can be difficult to understand and owners of dogs who commit attacks may attempt to blame victims for the animal's malicious behavior. Hiring an experienced and seasoned dog bit attorney can help you hold wrongdoers accountable and get dangerous animals off the street.
If you or a loved one were seriously hurt in a dog bite attack, contact The Cochran Firm, DC for a free consultation about your case. Call us at 202-682-5800 or at 1-800-THE FIRM and get the justice you deserve.