The surge in recent crime rates has led some people to consider the possibility of purchasing a dog that is trained to attack in the event of a threat such as a home invasion. A regional competition for dogs from Nevada, California and Oregon has also drawn attention to the dog training business, which produces animals worth a minimum of $3,000 to buyers once they are trained for protection. However, the personal injury attorneys at Bernstein & Poisson in Las Vegas remind their clients that, while an attack dog may seem like a good investment, the legal liability of owning such an animal can be extreme.
How Are Dogs Trained To Attack?
According to dog training expert Deleta McKenzie-Jones says that training a dog for personal protection is a labor-intensive and expensive process. “First, we train a personal protection dog to have excellent obedience,” she said. “They’ll go down on command and stay. They’re going to bite and stop on command. Some dogs we train to ‘turn on’ and look the part (aggressive), but the reality is it won’t go any further because it doesn’t know what to do. But if someone wants a dog that will bite on command, such as with a police department, that’s different.”
Experts do not recommend that homeowners purchase a dog trained to attack. The biggest benefit in having a dog, in fact, is the appearance of aggression and the fact that the dog will raise an alarm by barking if someone tries to get into your home. A dog that bites, however, can leave you open to liability.
What Are Nevada Dog Bite Laws?
Nevada dog bite victims can recover compensation under several legal doctrines if they are bitten. These include negligence per se, scienter and intentional torts. In practical terms, this means that if the dog bites, the owner is responsible even if he or she did not “sic” the dog on someone and even if the owner is not present when the bite occurs.
There is no specific state dog bite statute in Nevada, so the state remains a “one bite” location. This means that if a dog bites once, the courts may be inclined to excuse the owner on the basis that he or she had no way of knowing that the dog would bite. A second bite, however, would be presumed to be a foreseeable attack.
Although the state itself does not have a dog bite law, individual counties and cities may have ordinances creating strict liability, meaning that the owner can be held liable for the first bite.
If you have suffered a dog bite, contact the personal injury attorneys at Bernstein & Poisson in Las Vegas for more information on how you may be able to collect compensation.