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Dog Bites and the Law

Owning a dog can be a very rewarding experience. However dog owners should be careful that their adorable pooch is covered by their home insurance.
Unfortunately there has been a number of high profile incident in recent months where dogs have bitten children causing serious injuries and sometimes even death.
In the US, dog bites accounted for more than one-third of home insurance claims paid in 2011 according to USA Today. It is a worrying trend that may catch on here in Ireland.
The Control of Dogs Act 1986 is the principal legislation in Ireland governing the liability of owners for their dogs. It imposes a strict liability on dog owners where the offending dog causes damage to a person or to livestock. Strict liability means that the dog owner will always be held responsible even where the dog had never bitten a person before.
We advise that all dog owners check with their home insurance provider that their dog is covered by their home insurance. We also advises that dog owners should also ensure that their dog is not allowed out unaccompanied or to be unsupervised in the presence of small children because they face criminal prosecution if their dog causes harm to any person.
“Please remember that no matter how obedient and gentle your dog is, he/she is still an animal and can be unpredictable if frightened or harassed, and it is a dog’s natural defence mechanism to snap or bite.”
To quote USA Today’s report “the average cost of dog bite claims in the US was $ 29,396 in 2011”. Here in Ireland we are already seeing an increase in claims due to the fact that more people own dogs, they live closer to one another and there appears to be a lax control of dogs which allows them to come in to contact with small children, which can have awful consequences.

For further information or to arrange a consultation, please contact Berwick Solicitors: on +353 (0)91 567 545 or at <a href=””></a>.