The Charleston Animal Society has quarantined one if its rescue dogs after it bit two small children at the local farmer’s market last month. The dog, which is a Rottweiler and boxer mix, was with a foster parent at the time of the incident, report authorities. According to police reports, the rescue dog had no history of aggressiveness, but nonetheless lunged out and bit a three-year old at the event. As authorities responded to the first attack and were talking to the foster parent, the dog apparently lunged again, this time biting another small child on the thigh.
Both tots were treated by emergency responders at the farmer’s market and later taken to the hospital at MUSC, where the second child’s injuries called for more extensive treatment, though their present condition is unknown.
Rescue dog had no history of aggression
Foster parents of rescue pets at the Charleston Animal Society are also known as foster ambassadors. Their job is to feed and care for dogs and cats until a more permanent home is found. According to Joe Elmore, who is Chief Executive Officer for the foundation, many of these rescues are taken to public events to help with socialization skills and eventual placement.
This particular dog had cleared “temperament” evaluations and been taken to other community events without incident. However, on this particular weekend at The Charleston Farmer’s market, which was brimming with other dogs, people and young children – the Rottweiler mix showed unusual behavior as he sat leashed next to his temporary owner.
Elmore told Live 5 News that such incidents were rare, commenting on the successful nature of their foster program, which has helped place more than 400 canines. However, in most situations when a dog bites without any sort of provocation, the animal will have to be euthanized.
Dog bite law in South Carolina
In South Carolina, if you are bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog without provocation, the owner or caretaker may be held liable for resulting damages, including medical bills, time off work, lost wages and pain and suffering. In other words, legislation is generally favorable for dog bite victims. One notable exception is if the victim antagonized or otherwise provoked the dog before the attack or if the person was trespassing on another’s private property when the attack took place.
In this recent incident, it would be up to the courts to determine how the term ‘caregiver’ is interpreted given the dog was a rescue and technically under the care of the Charleston Animal Society and its network of foster parents.
Sadly, even the tamest of dogs can begin to show signs of aggression, from snarling and nipping to sudden lunges. And if proper training and positive correction isn’t pursued, these behaviors can turn downright dangerous, especially to little children who are most vulnerable to serious injury.
Due to the threat of a dog attack injury lawsuit, some animal rescue organizations no longer accept aggressive dogs or those considered “biters.” Statistically speaking, pit bulls and Rottweilers account for the largest number of dog bite attacks in the United States.
If you are attacked or bitten by a dog, many factors will ultimately determine legal liability. Learn more about your options for compensation by scheduling a free case review with Mr. Michael Jeffcoat, a respected dog bite lawyer serving Columbia and Richland counties. Call (803) 200-2000.