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How Dog Bites Happen in Utah

Dogs are known as man’s best friend for a reason.  Having dogs the lives of those who choose to own them can bring large amounts of happiness and companionship.  Despite the general love for dogs many people have, dogs are animals and can act out of character and attack humans.  Statistically speaking the most likely person that is going to be bitten by a dog, is small or young children.  We see these incidents happen more frequently for a variety of reasons.  For example, young children are more likely to invade a dog’s personal space, be too rough with the animal, or not take notice of the warning signs dogs usually give before they strike.


A list of why dogs attack people

  1. The dog is protecting its food, water, favorite resting space, home or its owners
  2. Something has frightened the dog, made it feel scared or the need to protect itself. This includes the sudden appearance of strangers or someone being too close what the dog considers its safe space.
  3. The dog considers the small child to be prey because the child is running and screaming. This also comes into play if the dog is a herding animal and uses instinctual nipping to keep the herd in line.
  4. Finally the canine could be old or injured and thus they are less likely to have patience with the rough or intrusive hugging that children are likely to do.

Warnings signs before a dog attacks

In almost all situations a dog will give warning signs before it attacks.  There can be issues seeing these signs because they may be subtle in nature, or have occurred for a long time before the animal finally snaps and lashes out.  Below are some of the signs that a dog is losing its patience and may bite or nip at someone.

  1. The animal has physically moved away from someone or has turned their head away from that person.
  2. The dog will growl, show its fangs or move into a rigid pose where it looks like they are going to strike.
  3. In some breeds their fur will stand up straight, you will be able to see the whites of their eyes, and the dog may begin to start licking their chops before they actually bite.

What if a dog bites someone in Utah?

It is important to seek necessary medical attention right away.  Regardless of how minor or severe the injury is, an infection may happen so it is important to keep the wound clean and stay up to date with medical recommendations.  Utah is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites.  This means that the owner of the dog is responsible for damages resulting from the dog bite, resulting in a dog bite liability case.  This is true even if the owner did not know or have reason to believe that the animal could be dangerous.  It is important for parents of small children to keep their kid’s safe while around dogs.  It is just as important for owners of dogs to not take the normal personality of the canine for granted and stay vigilant when the dog has visitors.

Jeffrey D. Gooch
Attorney at Law
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