Any time that an entity places a dog with a new owner, they have a responsibility legally to inform the owner about potential bites in the animal’s history. This applies to adoption agencies, shelters, rescue organizations and owners and sellers. Otherwise, the seller could be held responsible for criminal charges or civil liability. Read on to learn more about these issues and how they relate to dog bites in Philadelphia.
What Adoption Agencies Should Know About Liability and Dog Bites
If an individual attempts to adopt a dog known to be likely to bite or otherwise dangerous, or if the seller misrepresents the qualities of the dog, the new dog owner may be able to sue the adoption agency or seller as a result. An animal transferor could also be held liable for breaching in terms of a representation warranty or promise. These promises can be made in writing or orally and could be implied or expressed.
One of the most common problems impacting the dog selling community is when a transferor who stipulates that a dog is safe with kids and additional animals when the transferor has no reason to believe this. There are several different temperament tests that could be conducted to determine whether or not an animal is suitable for placement through adoption but it is not yet clear whether or not these would be a successful shield against liability.
Dog Bites and Implied Suitability
Unfortunately, many transferors take advantage of dog adopters or purchasers by saying that a dog is safe when there has been no reasonable investigation into the animal’s history. With public expectations that only suitable animals will be placed with families, it is an implied warranty of suitability between an animal shelter and the public. Individuals adopting a dog have the right to expect a full disclosure or a suitable dog. If a dangerous dog goes on to seriously hurt or kill someone in the new household, there could be civil as well as criminal penalties.
Shelters and adoption agencies should always do their due diligence when it comes to placing an animal. An animal who has a history of attacking could pose serious risks to an unknowing family. If a child or another person is bitten, the ramifications could have severe impacts for many years and expose the family to liability if another person files a personal injury claim. With any dog bite attack in Philadelphia, questions of injury and liability arise quickly. It is important to always present an accurate picture of an animal before attempting to place it with a family. If you know little of an animal’s history, make sure to investigate the background as much as you can. If you discover something, it is your responsibility to share this information with the intended family. Failing to do so could expose your shelter or agency to liability if a dog bite happens down the line.
Attorney Richard Washington represents people injured or killed in Auto Accidents, Slip, Trip and Fall Down Accidents, Dog Bites, Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death, Workers Compensation, Social Security Disability and Long Term Disability Claims in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, D.C. and Minnesota, including Philadelphia County, Montgomery County, Chester County, Berks County, Dauphin County, and Lehigh County. The law firm also represents clients regarding Estates, Wills and Probate. Attorney Richard Washington represents individuals charged with crimes including DUI, disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, underage drinking, assault, and possession of drugs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, D.C. and Minnesota, including Philadelphia County, Montgomery County, Chester County, Berks County, Dauphin County, and Lehigh County.
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