Pets On The Payroll
On June 20, some people will be observing “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” an annual event created by Pet Sitters International (PSI) in 1999 to “celebrate the great companions dogs make and encourage their adoptions from local shelters, rescue groups and humane societies.”
We couldn’t agree more that our four-footed friends add a certain dimension of joy to our lives, and even liven up the workplace in some cases. Presumably, only folks who have trained and socialized their dogs will be taking them to the office, but statistics might deter even those who have complete confidence that their dog “would never bite.”
About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 900,000 will suffer injuries that require medical treatment. In 2012, more than 27,000 people were bitten so severely that they required reconstructive surgery. Small children and the elderly are most likely to be bitten by dogs, but guess who’s next on the list . . . letter carriers for the U.S. Postal Service. Last year, 5,581 mail carriers were attacked by dogs, many times to the surprise of their owners who thought their dog would “never bite.”
Under Indiana law, a dog owner is strictly liable for an unprovoked dog attack on a person who is acting peaceably. However, you should be aware that some states have a “one free bite” rule which makes a dog owner liable for injuries caused by the dog only if the owner knew or should have known that the dog had dangerous tendencies, i.e., if the dog had previously attacked someone and thereby had put the owner on notice of the dangerous nature of the dog. This is not true in any of the states contiguous to Indiana, but it may be true in a state where you are visiting or vacationing.
How often are people bitten by dogs in Indiana? According to data released by State Farm Insurance, Indiana ranked No.7 on the company’s list of states with the most dog bite claims. State Farm paid $2.7 million in 2012 to dog bite victims in Indiana.
If you’ve been the victim of an animal attack, you’ll want to contact an attorney who has experience in personal injury claims. The Indianapolis dog bite lawyers at McNeely Stephenson will be able to analyze the circumstances of your attack to determine who is liable – the dog’s owner, the property owner, even the company management which allowed the dog to “come to work.” Call 1-855-206-2555 for a free evaluation.