The call for tougher laws regulating potentially vicious dogs is being made in Louisiana. The vicious attack of a Westwego, LA woman has thrown a new light on the discussion. Linda Henry, a former pitbull lover and owner, was mauled by 3 of her own pitbulls, losing both arms, an eyelid and part of her scalp in the attack. She is thankful she survived the attack but she has since, understandably, changed her tune on pitbull regulation.
City Council member Glenn Green is one of the public advocates on her side, hoping to pass a proposal that would levy strict regulations against pit bull owners. One of his aims is to impose a one hundred thousand dollar liability insurance policy on owners of the breed. Opponents of the proposal claim that focusing solely on pit bulls is not a solution to the problem and in fact unfairly singles out pit bull owners without addressing problems involving other breeds.
Louisiana is a “strict liability state,” which means the victim of a dog bite needs to prove the attack was something the owner of the dog could have reasonably prevented. Provided this can be done, the dog’s owner will be held responsible for damages and, in addition, may be fined for failure to properly follow current regulations governing the restraint of their pet.
It wasn’t along ago, in 2009, that Louisiana toughened its dog bite laws. Whereas most cases were settled in civil court, the “Luna McDaniel and Michael Blaise Landry Act” made criminal negligence applicable in certain situations, but the burden of proving there was negligence on a criminal level would lie with the victim of the attack. The statute is named after two mauling victims who were attacked and killed within a year of each other and is presumably meant to encourage owners of “dangerous breeds” to keep their pets on a tighter leash.
While it is notoriously hard to collect completely accurate data with respect to dog bites and attacks, it is widely believed that pit bulls are responsible for a significant number of the more brutal attacks. A study by a “dog bites victims’ group”, DogsBite.org, claims that, between Jan 2006 and Dec 2008, pitbulls were responsible for 59% of fatal attacks by dogs. There will always be debate about the effectiveness of legislation targeting a single breed and its owners but it is clear that the movement to enact such laws has plenty of steam and ammunition.
Louisiana is not the only state looking to toughen up their laws and it is easy to get confused by the varying degrees of liability. We at Cardone Law are here to answer your questions and, if necessary, fight for you in cases where you have been the victim of a pet owner’s negligence. If you or a loved one has been hurt or have suffered as a result of a bite or attack do not hesitate to contact us.
For your confidential consultation contact us online or phone Cardone. 1-888-89-CARDONE (1-888-892-2736).