Dog Mauling Demonstrates How Companies Can Be Liable For Animal Attacks
When dogs injure people you probably already know that their owners can be held liable for the injuries that the dogs cause. But organizations that own or control dogs can be liable as well, and the problems and errors that can lead to lawsuits were recently demonstrated in a tragic mauling of an organization’s volunteer worker.
Organization Volunteer is Killed
The nonprofit organization is one that rescues abandoned dogs, in the hopes of rehabilitating the animals for future adoption. The organization often didn’t know, at least at first, each dog’s propensity for violence, or how sociable or nonsocial any given dog was.
In this particular case, according to the allegations of a lawsuit, the organization took in a dog that was known to be somewhat aggressive. The organization placed the dog in the temporary care of a volunteer, whose job it was to socialize the dog, and get the dog ready for possible future adoption.
But the end of the story is one of tragedy. The volunteer believed that she was making progress in socializing the dog. The dog ended up brutally making and killing the volunteer, breaking bones, and attacking her so brutally that she died from loss of blood at the scene of the attack.
What Went Wrong?
The family of the victim is now suing the organization, alleging a number of wrongs.
One thing the lawsuit alleges is a lack of training on how to handle these situations. The lawsuit says that other volunteers at the scene of the making did not call 911, but rather tried to remove the dog, either by hand, or by splashing water on it. The lawsuit suggests that lethal force should have been used, when it was clear the dog intended to kill the victim.
Those techniques also were made difficult because the dog was about 100 pounds, whereas the volunteer was a 50 year old woman. The difference in sizes between the two should have made it apparent, according to the suit, that the dog should have been trained by an actual trainer, at a facility—not just a volunteer, even though the volunteer had experience in working with new dogs brought into the organization.
The volunteer was also, according to the lawsuit, not provided with any type of equipment, such as protective gear, spray, or items that could have guarded against, or stopped a potential attack. There was apparently not even a muzzle on the dog at the time of the attack.
There is also some question about how much the volunteer knew about the dog’s propensities for violence. The lawsuit alleges that she may not have known or been told of the dog’s dangerous disposition, when the organization did in fact know.
Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today if you have been injured by or attacked by and insured by, a dog or other animal.