Schemery Zicolello

Pennsylvania dog attack leads to charges

Pennsylvania residents may understand that they need to keep their properties free of dangerous property conditions that could cause injuries to guests. These types of things include icy sidewalks, poorly constructed home repairs and other dangers. However, people may not realize that premises liability laws also require people to keep others safe from their animals.

If peoples' domesticated animals such as a dog or other pets cause injury to people the owner of that animal is going to be held responsible. Animals are treated like any other type of property and need to be under the control of the owner.

Recently, an attack by a pair of dogs in Pennsylvania has led some to question what should be done with the animals. According to reports, the animals attacked and killed several of the owner's neighbor's chickens. The neighbors say they have seen the dogs attack other wild animals in the past. These neighbors are now afraid of what these dogs could do to their young grandchildren.

The dogs' owner admits that she knew the dogs had been a problem in the past and that she did not have the best control over the animals. However, she claims that they are nothing more than pets to her and are sweet, domesticated animals that would never hurt a human. However, the woman is facing criminal charges as a result of her dogs' behavior.

Under Pennsylvania law, a dog can be labeled as dangerous if the dog inflicts severe injury or kills another domesticated animal without provocation away from the dog's owner's property. If a dog is classified as dangerous, its owners are subject to a $500 a year registration fee.

In addition to these penalties and criminal charges, a civil suit can also be brought by someone who was injured by a dangerous dog. Dog bites and other injuries can cause serious medical problems and emotional damage. A civil suit can help to make sure the dog's owner is held responsible and that people get the compensation they need to recover from a bite.

Source: Public Opinion, "'Dangerous dog' charges in Mercersburg case," Jim Hook, March 20, 2014

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