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Parents may seek to file a personal injury claim after dog attack

In a society where more than half the population has a family pet or two, it is not uncommon to encounter animals wandering unaccompanied along neighborhood roadways. Whether the animal escapes from their yard or are not properly contained, owners are responsible for their animals, even when they are unaware of their pet’s whereabouts. In Wisconsin, when someone is injured by an animal the owners could face a personal injury lawsuit.

In one such incident, safety officials responded to an emergency call regarding a child who was being attacked by neighborhood dogs. According to the report, the 6-year-old was playing with a group of other children near the family home when she was caught off guard by two pit bulls. The report continues that the children ran to alert the girl’s mother, who then ran out with a bat to ward off the animals.

Police arrived at the scene, followed closely by the girl’s grandfather, who recalls hearing gun shots being fired. Police say that the dogs turned on them when they approached the scene, at which point they fired at the animals in defense. The dogs retreated toward their home, where they died a short while later.

Emergency personnel rushed to the aid of the girl who had miraculously survived the vicious attack. She was taken to the hospital and rushed into surgery. Witnesses describe the injuries she suffered as a result of the attack were described as gruesome, though they are hopeful she will recover. It was not reported if the owners were aware of their dogs’ involvement at the time, but the girl's family retain the right to file a personal injury claim on behalf of their daughter. Wisconsin is known as a strict liability state with regard to dog bite attacks, meaning that the dogs' owner will likely be financially responsible for all damages sustained as a result of the girl's serious injuries.

Source: wisconsinrapidstribune.com, "Mom beats pit bulls with bat to stop attack on daughter", Jennifer Edwards Baker and Adam Kiefaber, June 6, 2014

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Godfrey, Leibsle,
Blackbourn & Howarth, S.C.

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