Columbia personal injury lawyers want you to be aware that, with the rise in ownership of dogs breeds such as pit bulls, which are vicious, and breeds such as mastiffs or German shepherds, which can be vicious if not trained properly, there has been a corresponding rise in dog bite cases. Ownership of exotic animals, such as snakes and large cats (tigers and lions) is also becoming increasingly popular, especially in rural areas.
Under South Carolina law, a dog or other animal owner can be held liable for an attack or injury stemming from their animal in both private and public places. First, if a person is lawfully in a private place and are attacked by the animal, the animal’s owner can be held liable. (The private place can either be the attacked person’s space that was used by the animal, such as a back yard or driveway, or a space owned by the pet owner, such as a house, yard, or garage, if the attacked party was invited in.) Second, the animal’s owner is liable if the attack occurred in a public place, such a park, sidewalk, or parking lot.
Animal owners are required to keep their pet on a leash or to post warning signs.
Despite the fact that we often don’t think of dog bites as being serious, they can be. Many dogs are large and can do serious damage, especially if the attacked party is a child. Other types of pets, if inadequately secure in a home or yard, can also do significant damage in the case of an attack.
At times, the animal’s owners may try to argue that the animal was provoked into the attack, or may even deny ownership. It is advisable to consult an attorney if you or a loved one has been attacked by an animal. Please contact us.