New Jersey residents will probably be unsurprised to learn that mistreated or neglected dogs are more likely to lash out than beloved family pets. A 2013 study published by the American Veterinary Medical Association reveals that dogs considered to be part of the family by their owners are far less likely to demonstrate aggressive behavior. However, those that spend most of their lives isolated from human companionship seldom learn how to behave appropriately when antagonized.
There are over 80 million dogs in the United States, and they were involved in approximately 4.7 million dog bite injury cases in 2014. Children are often drawn to dogs, and approximately half of the dog attacks that led to hospital treatment involved children. Dog owners can reduce the risks of an attack by neutering or spaying their pets and keeping them on a leash at all times, and even friendly dogs that have never displayed aggressive behavior should not be left alone with children.
While it may be easy to blame dog attacks on cruel or negligent owners, even cherished family pets may bite in certain situations. Improper training is often cited as a reason for these attacks, but even well-trained dogs may act aggressively if they are frequently left unattended for prolonged periods.
It is often said that there are many bad dog owners but no bad dogs, but such observations will be of little comfort to those who have suffered a painful dog bite injury. An attorney with experience in dog bite cases may have encountered reluctance on the part of victims to pursue the matter, but feelings of sympathy for the dog involved should be secondary to concerns about the possibility of future attacks. Dog bites sometimes cause serious injuries and permanent nerve damage, and pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent dog owner could provide compensation for a victim’s medical bills and lost income.