For many people, a dog is truly man’s best friend. You’ve probably seen the many quotes that sing the praises of canines:
“Happiness is a warm puppy.”
“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
But what happens when a dog doesn’t love us? What happens when a dog’s bite is actually worse than its bark?
Since we as humans like to categorize, grade, classify, rank, and label, it should come as no surprise that there exists a scale for the severity of dog bites—the Dunbar Bite Scale to be precise. It divides dog bites into six levels:
The dog is aggressive, showing its teeth, snapping and growling, possibly snagging clothing, without actually making contact with the victim’s skin. In the case of Level 1, the dog may be showing fear or insecurity rather than true aggression.
With a Level 2, the dog is sending a message that it is uncomfortable with a situation, that it is stressed. People who work with dogs intimately, like vets and groomers, sometimes experience this. The dog’s teeth may leave a mark, but don’t break skin.
Whatever the reason for a Level 3 bite, whether rough play that escalates, fear, poor socialization, or something else, this level of aggression must be dealt with. The dog should be taken to a vet or trainer as soon as possible. This is generally a serious problem that needs attention.
To be clinical, this is defined as a bite with one to four perforations deeper than half the length of the dog’s tooth. These bites may be caused by predatory behavior, poor bite inhibition, or fear. These are dangerous bites, as the dog may shake its head while biting, refusing to release.
Similar bites to Level 4, but in this case multiple bites occur during an attack. Dogs responsible for Level 5 bites are generally considered dangerous dogs. Rehabilitation may be possible with the help of a veterinary specialist or trainer, but it would require a dedicated professional and a great deal of work, with no guarantee of success.
If reading those words sends a chill up your spine, that’s not surprising. Dogs who commit Level 6 bites are not safe to be around humans, or even other dogs. While authorities will determine the ultimate cause of death, chances are these dogs will be recommended for euthanasia.
…regardless of the level of the bite, you could be entitled to compensation. Dog bite personal injury claims tend to be complex and emotional. The case depends on the severity of the injury, liability laws where the incident happened, the statute of limitations, and many other factors. When hiring a lawyer for a dog bite claim, be sure they are well-versed in those types of suits, with the necessary experience, staff, and resources to recover the proper compensation.
For further information on dog bites and personal injury litigation, please check out these helpful resources:
[Infographic] Dog Bites on the Rise
If you or a family member has been involved in a dog bite incident, contact the attorneys at LaSalvia Law. We will fight to win you the compensation you deserve.
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