This tragic event, some would argue, is why pets (other than service animals) are not allowed in stores.
A recent dog attack that sent a little boy to the hospital made national news, and the story has many criticizing home improvement store Lowe’s.
According to NBC, the dog’s owner was letting the three-year-old boy pet the dog when it bit him. The boy suffered bites to the jaw, neck, forehead, and cheek. A surveillance video, which you can watch here, shows the moments after the attack. The owner of the dog, which is on a leash, is leaving Lowe’s, while the boy and his father remain inside.
Police found the man at his home, less than a mile from the store. The man told authorities that he left the scene because he didn’t want his dog taken away—but that is just what happened. The dog’s owner was eventually arrested after it came to light that his dog had previously behaved aggressively toward children.
The dog is currently in quarantine.
In addition to facing possible charges of criminal negligence, the dog’s owner could face civil liability as well. The boy’s family could hold the man legally and financially responsible for the boy’s injuries. Through a personal injury lawsuit, the family could receive damages for the boy’s medical bills and pain and suffering.
Many are pointing the finger at Lowe’s, as well, for even allowing the dog into the store. According to the store spokesperson, only service animals are permitted into their store, which makes how the dog entered in the first place a mystery.
In many states, including California (where this attack occurred) and Alabama, dog owners may be held liable for injuries caused by their dogs—whether or not they knew the dog was dangerous. This is the case when the dog attacks someone who is in a place where “he or she has a legal right to be” (i.e. not trespassing), according to Alabama statutes.
However, in Alabama, dog owners can mitigate, or reduce, the damages they have to pay by proving that they did not know the dog was dangerous. If they can prove this, they are only responsible for the injured person’s expenses.
In our state, dogs do not get one “free bite.” If your dog bites or otherwise injures someone, you may be held responsible for the injured person’s medical bills and other expenses. This is why it is so important to maintain control of your dog, particularly in public.
If a dog has injured you or a loved one, consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney to learn what your legal rights are.