Dog Bites in Mississippi
When a three-year-old boy was dropped off at daycare on June morning, no one would have imagined he’d be airlifted to Magee General Hospital later that day due to multiple dog bites. The boy wandered away from the facility to an area where chained dogs were kept, and suffered severe bites.
Prior to this incident, a Gulfport grandmother was attacked by a couple of pit bulls. The woman was killed in the incident, which occurred shortly after opening the gates to her property. The dogs involved in the attack had previously been involved in an event where they injured another neighborhood dog.
And in May, a nine-year-old girl received stitches on her face after being bitten by a pit bull in her Gulfport neighborhood.
These heartbreaking events occur more often than you might think. In Gulfport alone, 120 people have been hospitalized for dog bites in the past two years. If you’ve been injured by a dog attack, you need aggressive legal representation to enforce the liability of the dog’s owners.
A National Problem
Dog attacks are a serious problem throughout the country. In fact, homeowners’ liability insurance paid out $600 million in claims for bites in just 2016. Medical costs soared to $165 million to treat victims of dog encounters that year.
How is it that Man’s Best Friend becomes so Vicious?
The truth is, well over half of incidents involving aggressive dogs occur on the owners’ property. And the majority of those attacks involve children. So what precipitates a dog becoming aggressive? Experts point to possible reasons:
- Perhaps the animal is startled, and responds with aggression;
- They may believe they need to defend the property;
- They think their food, or a toy, is being taken;
- They may be tired, achy or sick;
- They may feel they are being provoked.
Mississippi’s One Bite Rule
Mississippi follows what is known as the “one bite rule”. Essentially, victims must demonstrate that the owner should have known the animal was dangerous. The owner is liable when a dog had previously been aggressive, or had bitten another animal or person. Owners might also be cited if the animal was off-leash, unvaccinated, or unlicensed.
Children should be taught never to approach a dog they don’t know. Even around a family pet, they should be monitored and know some basic things to avoid in order to avoid an unpleasant dog encounter:
- Don’t approach a dog that is eating;
- Avoid rough play that could become dangerous;
- Avoid tug-of-war games with your pet;
- Don’t startle a sleeping animal.
Consequences of a Dog Attack
The physical, mental, and emotional impact of a dog attack can last a lifetime. If you or a family member has experienced a frightening encounter, you need the legal services of an experienced and heavy hitting attorney on your side. It’s time to call Derek L. Hall, PC, to fight on behalf of the injured party. Contact us in Jackson for a free, confidential consultation today.