When Animals Attack

The big issue in animal bites is how do you collect for the injury. In the case of a dog bite, for example, you might think it is easy to just sue the dog's owner. But most civil judgments are defeated if the person who you have the judgment against files for bankruptcy and sometimes as soon as people get their wages garnished they file for bankruptcy. Naturally, it helps if the dog owner has some wealth rather than living paycheck to paycheck.

Fortunately, there is a trend for apartment managers to demand that tenants buy a tenant's insurance policy which insures the tenant against many liabilities. Unfortunately, some of these tenant policies--which are pretty cheap--have exclusions for dog bites or from bites from certain kinds of dogs such as pit bulls. And unfortunately, landlords generally just want proof of a policy without examining the policy. However, the landlord may be liable for renting to a tenant with a dog that bites. 

Dog Bites & Attacks:

Most animal attacks in Nevada involve dogs. If the dog is not identified, rabies is a concern because rabies is an almost always fatal disease that can be carried by unvaccinated dogs. Other than the concern about rabies, dog bites mainly cause tissue damage rather than infection because the broad teeth of the dog make for wounds that are easy to clean.

Cat Bites & Attacks:

Unvaccinated cats can also carry rabies. In addition, because cat teeth puncture more than they tear, cat bites mainly cause damage by infections. Cats' sharp, narrow teeth can inject bacteria into tendons and bones. The infectious bacteria Pasteurella multocida is found in 90% of healthy cats.

It may seem illogical for a landlord to be concerned about cats as a source of danger to their tenants, but because even healthy cats carry bacteria that can harm people if injected into them by a bite, stray cats should be a concern to landlords. As with dogs, use care before reaching down to pet a cat. At Reed Mansfield, we once handled a case where a woman was attacked by a cat and because her wounds became badly infected she was hospitalized for twelve days.

If You've Been Injured

If you have been injured by a dog or other animal, please contact us right away as we may be able to help you. There are many potential sources of recovery, for example, perhaps the dog owner has homeowner's or renter's insurance, or perhaps the landlord was negligent in renting to a tenant with a vicious animal.

We would be happy to meet with you for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION to discuss any potential claim you have.