A recent dog bite incident in Royal Oak, Michigan has caused a small uproar. A Doberman Pinscher named Heidi may soon be put down by the authorities after it bite a Warren man outside a grocery store. The story made it online and now the dog’s plight has gone viral. Apparently, people from as far as away as China are demanding the dog be saved from Royal Oak animal control.
The dog’s owner was given two tickets and the city prosecutor is enforcing the vicious dog ordinance currently on the city’s books. He has issued the fines and forced the owner to either have Heidi destroyed or placed into an obedience training program.
As the proud owner of a miniature dachshund named Eddie, I can sympathize with the hundreds of dog lovers trying to protect Heidi. Still, this was a violent act by the Doberman. According to the report, the victim’s nose was broken and he may face additional surgeries in the future. I can certainly sympathize with this dog bite victim as well. Also, as an attorney who has represented Michigan dog bite victims in the past, I understand these dogs tend to become repeat offenders.
Michigan dog bite attorneys have handled hundreds if not thousands of dog bite attacks. Michigan dog bite law is very clear. Unless the dog was provoked, if a dog bite occurs, the dog’s owner is strictly liable for any damages that accrue from the bite. This means the dog owner is responsible for any injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering and other compensation due to the dog bite victim – end of discussion.
Simply stated, the law says dog owners owe an absolute duty to the public in general to prevent their dog from attacking and biting without provocation while located in a public place.
The dog owner can also be held responsible even if no actual dog bite occurs. For example, if a dog attacks and pushes a person over causing injuries, the dog owner is responsible if she or she was negligent in not restraining the animal or knew the dog had a dangerous and vicious propensity to attack.
It is my hope Heidi gets the help she needs to be a responsible canine citizen here in Michigan. It is also my hope the dog bite victim makes a speedy and safe recovery from this attack. I look forward to hearing how this story ends.