I wrote this book because the readers of my web site, Dog Bite Law, made me realize how many dogs are needlessly injured and killed every day, and how difficult it is for their owners to receive justice. Like other attorneys, I previously focused my attention on humans who had been bitten by dogs. I created the Dog Bite Law web site after my niece was bitten in the face on Christmas Day 1998. I wanted to use my knowledge to educate the public and hopefully take some of the “bite” out of the dog bite epidemic.
The focus of dogbitelaw.com, however, was dog bite injuries inflicted on human beings. I had no intention of writing about injuries to dogs, because I gave no thought whatsoever to this topic. Soon, however, the dog owners themselves forcefully brought it to my attention. Of the 1,0001 people who visited the site each day, one dozen per day wrote to me about how their dogs were wrongfully injured or killed on their own front lawn, in their backyards, at the dog parks, on the leash, off the leash, at the veterinarian’s, and on and on.
I wondered why so many people with injured dogs were writing to me. After all, I thought it was perfectly obvious that the intent of the web site was to address the prevention of human injuries, and the rights of human dog bite victims. As soon as I began researching the law, I got my answer. Regretfully, ancient notions about the valuelessness of dogs and other domestic animals are dominant in modern law. For that reason, the law does not, at the present time, grant the dog owner an adequate amount of compensation when his dog is injured or killed.
This has a domino effect. Because the dog owner usually can recover only the fair market value of his dog, and nothing at all for the emotional distress that he and his family suffer, he cannot afford the services of a lawyer. The monetary recovery is too small to justify the cost. Since attorneys are not called upon in these matters, they do not study the laws involved. Therefore, dog owners are writing to dogbitelaw.com because they have nowhere else to turn. This is why I decided to write this self-help book for them.
I wrote this book in the hope of being as helpful as possible. The book has three parts, or “volumes.” The first volume is what you are now reading. The second is an interactive, question-and-answer session that focuses on which dog owner is liable when two dogs get into a fight (note that it does not apply to other situations, such as where a dog is injured at the veterinarian’s office). The third volume is a set of forms, some of which are .PDF files that you print out and fill in, and others are templates (in the form of word processing files) for your letters, settlement presentations, and other things that you may have to generate to reach your particular goals.
I hope that this book helps you.