Yesterday, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners accepted the first reading of the proposed amendments to the county's animal control ordinance. The ordinance would require owners of potentially dangerous or vicious animals to carry a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance on their pets as well as require the housing of dangerous animals in structures not accessible to children. According to the new proposals, dog owners could be forced to purchase a minimum of $100,000 liability insurance if their pet is found running loose, exhibiting aggressive behavior, damaging property, or has indirectly injured a person or animal, or bitten or scratched a person in a less than dangerous manner on 3 or more occasions. Animals that kill or seriously injure a person or pet could be euthanized by court order. The ordinances will be reviewed by the county's Policy Committee again on February 7 th when additional changes may be made and then presented to the Board of Commissioners for a second and final reading on February 15 th.
As we indicated in a previous blog, the proposals are an attempt to prevent attacks and address the needs of the victims who often incur costly medical expenses in the treatment of their injuries. However, under the proposal, a dog must exhibit certain behaviors 3 or more times before an owner is required to carry liability insurance. How does that prevent an attack or aid a victim if the first sign of aggressive behavior ends in an attack on a victim? Likewise, a dog must bite a person in a less than dangerous manner on 3 or more occasions before the requirements kick in but I have to ask, how can a dog bite a person in a less than dangerous manner in the first place?
Michigan is a strict liability state in regards to dog bites, meaning a dog is not allowed "one free bite" as in some other states. No matter whether the dog has shown aggressive behavior in the past or if it has already bitten someone before, the dog owner may be held liable for the victim's injuries. At Freedman & Freedman, we represent dog bite victims throughout Detroit, Troy, Southfield, Rochester Hills and the surrounding areas in Michigan. We are happy to offer a free initial consultation with an experienced Michigan dog bite lawyer, giving you the opportunity to learn more about what you can do to maximize your potential for financial damages.
Contact a Detroit dog bite lawyer at Freedman & Freedman today to talk about your claim and how you can bring the dog owner to justice.