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Can Dog Sitters Be Held Liable for a Dog Bite Accident?

Most people love dogs. They’re called a man’s best friend for a reason. Sometimes it’s necessary to leave them behind when traveling. When we leave our homes and cannot take our furry friends with us, the responsible thing to do is to leave them with a dog sitter, someone to take care of them while we’re gone. However, dogs aren’t always docile, sweet creatures, and having a dog sitter doesn’t always assure that nothing will go wrong.

For one reason or another, they may lash out and bite someone. When multiple parties are responsible for the care of a dog, it can become unclear where liability would be placed if that dog were to act out. Navigating how to deal with a dog bite can be a complex and troublesome process. Speak to a personal injury lawyer about your options.

Potential Dog Bite Injuries

One of the primary concerns about dog bites is the injury and the potential for infection. Different dog breeds will cause different levels of harm, but generally, dogs have sharp teeth, and many dogs have strong jaws. A dog bite could break the skin and even injure the bone. Bacteria from the dog’s mouth could be transferred into the person’s wound during the attack and potentially cause an infection.

Open wounds must be treated as soon as possible to prevent infection because it could lead to life-threatening illnesses such as sepsis. Dog bites could lead the victim to develop other serious injuries such as muscle damage, nerve damage, tetanus, and rabies. Dog bites must be taken seriously, or else the victim could be seriously injured or even die.

What If the Dog Bites the Sitter or a Third Party?

Dog bite laws vary from state to state. Many states have a one-bite rule for dogs which holds that a dog owner is only liable if the dog has previously bitten someone, giving the owner grounds to suspect their dog is susceptible to violent tendencies. However, whether the dog has previously bitten someone makes no difference in Utah. Even if the dog is in the care of a sitter, the owner would still be deemed liable for the victim’s injuries. Utah has a strict liability rule for dog bites and attacks. One bite is all it takes for the owner to be held accountable for their dog’s behavior.

According to this rule, a dog’s owner is responsible for their animal’s harmful behavior, including any injuries or damage. This legislation states that if a dog bites a person, the owner or keeper is legally responsible for the victim’s damages even if they had no reason to believe the dog was capable of attacking. Pet sitters are temporary caretakers and are not considered to have assumed custody or control over the dog. Utah dog owners have a duty of care that makes them responsible for handling their animals properly, including preventing them from attacking others.

What If the Dog Bites Another Dog?

A dog biting another dog is treated differently than if they were to bite a human. According to Utah law, a person who owns or keeps a dog is not liable for an injury or death caused by a dog if the injury or death is to another animal and the animal entered the person’s private property without consent.

Discuss Your Legal Options with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

Dog bites are no joke. While a dog may be in a sitter’s care, its owner is still responsible for its actions. That includes the harm they caused. If a dog has bitten you, whether the owner was present or not, they should be held accountable for their dog’s actions. As the injured party, you should consider pursuing compensation to cover damages from the dog’s owner. Don’t underestimate the impact of dog bites. Dog bites are serious injuries that could require extensive medical treatment, which is expensive.

Talk to the experienced dog bite lawyers at Feller & Wendt, LLC about your legal options for pursuing financial compensation after a dog bite. Contact us now by calling (801) 499-5060 or submitting our contact form to schedule your free legal consultation.