What can I do if I have been bitten by a rescue dog?
There are a number of organisations doing splendid work in rehoming dogs and in doing so saving animal lives.
When a family takes on a rescue dog, they are likely to face a number of challenges. Not least is the fact that there may only be sketchy information about the dog’s background and its previous owner. This means that particular care should be taken, and while the organisation that arranges the rehoming can often offer support, the new owner should proceed with caution.
Rescue dogs, just like any other dog, carry the risk of biting or attacking a human, and as one of the country’s leaders in dog bite claims our legal helpline frequently receives calls from people who have been bitten by a rescue dog.
The law applicable to attacks involving rescue dogs is the same as it is for all other dog attacks in England and Wales. The fact that the dog involved is one that has been rehomed is no defence. The new owner owes the same legal duties to third parties and cannot avoid responsibility simply because it’s a rescue dog.
There is however an additional dimension to these claims. When considering who is legally liable to compensate the victim of an attack, consideration can also be given to the role played by the organisation which rehomed the dog. Did the organisation, for instance, have any information about the dog that they failed to pass on to the new owner? Would that information have alerted the new owner to a potential risk, resulting in the owner managing the dog differently and avoiding an attack? If so, then full or partial legal liability may rest with the rehoming organisation.
Anyone who is bitten by a rescue dog and who wants to know where they stand in terms of claiming compensation from the owner (or the rehoming organisation) can contact our helpline for free guidance from one of our team of experts. You may also wish to read this helpful guide on what to do if you are bitten by a dog, written by our own James McNally, AKA ‘The Dog Bite Solicitor’.