Mail Service Suspended After Recent Dog Attacks
· 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S. every year
· 800,000 of those bites require medical attention
· The U.S. insurance industry pays out $1 billion each year in dog bite claims
· Half of dog attacks occur among children younger than 10
Some local governments have gone as far as banning specific breeds that are thought to be particularly dangerous, such as pit bulls. However, pit bulls aren’t the only dogs that bite. The AHA says at least 25 different breeds have been involved in dog attack deaths. Some of these ordinances have been found to be unconstitutional because not all dogs of a particular breed are vicious or dangerous. Any dog can bite, regardless of its breed.
Besides children, mail carriers seem to be the most vulnerable to dog attacks. The events in one Houston neighborhood are worth mentioning. A neighborhood dog has reportedly attacked three different postal carriers there over the last two years. After the most recent attack last month, the U.S. Postal Service took the rare step of suspending mail service in that neighborhood. Likewise, in Lorain, Ohio, the postal service will require a homeowner to use a post office box if the property owner's dog has attacked a mail carrier on more than one occasion.
Dog bite victims do have rights. In Ohio, dog bite victims can recover from the dog owner a dog as long as the victim was not trespassing on the dog owner's property or was not teasing or tormenting the dog. The victim can also recover against a keeper of a dog -- someone who had possession of the dog at the time. This same rule also applies to a harborer of a dog -- someone who lets a dog stay on the property owner's property.
A dog owner’s homeowner or renter insurance policy typically covers dog bites, but only a small percentage of dog bite victims ever see any payments from insurance companies. Many dog attacks go unreported and uncompensated, so it’s a good idea for victims to contact an attorney. If a dog bite victim does not have an attorney, the insurance company usually tries to settle the claim for just a fraction of what the claim is worth.