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PA Ranks #4 In The Country For Dog Bite Claims

Dog bites and dog attacks are a big problem, especially in Pennsylvania.  According to nationally compiled data, Pennsylvania sits at the #4 spot for the number of dog bite claims each year by state.  Last year, that meant that almost 1,000 dog bites resulted in some type of legal action.

So, how can you help prevent a dog attack while you're out this summer? Follow a few simple tips:

  • Don't approach or pet a dog that you don't know
  • Don't let your children touch or pet a dog without asking or receiving permission first
  • If you have a dog, know that whatever that dog does is your responsibility. Even in the comfort of your own home, you are liable for a dog bite/attack against another person. 
  • If you bring your dog in public, be prepared that others may try to pet it without permission. Even if they don't ask permission, you still remain responsible for your dog's actions.  Your dog should be friendly, approachable, and not pose an immediate danger to others in a public place. 

It is YOUR responsibility as a dog owner to make sure that your dog is a peaceful, well behaved, and safe member of the community.  Your dog should not pose a risk to you, other animals, or other people.  If needed, seek professional help from a veterinarian or an animal behaviorist to address and extinguish unpredictable, aggressive, and dangerous behaviors in your dog.  Furthermore, in Pennsylvania, liability for a dog attack may even fall to a landlord if they know that the dangerous animal resides on the property. This is important to note if you have renters on properties that you own. 

 On the other side of this discussion, if you are injured in a dog attack, your claim for damages based on your injuries or disfigurement will be based on a theory of negligence, and will be very complex.  You need an attorney that has experience in handling the difficulties of these types of claims. We will review the facts and analyze the law to provide you with a thorough evaluation of your claims.   If you or a loved one suffered an injury or disfigurement from a dog bite, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr.  Attorney Doug Stoehr has experience in handling dog bite cases, and will thoroughly evaluate your claim.   Call us today at (814) 946-4100 for a free initial consultation.  

When Dogs Attack

Although we hope this never happens to you, it is important to know how to keep yourself safe in the event that you are attacked by a dog.  This is crucial, especially since dogs bite almost 5 million Americans a year, and almost a million of those people seek medical treatment.  In fact, almost 400,000 of those victims have such bad injuries that they require immediate attention in the emergency room.  


So, how can you avoid being attacked by a dog? Take a look at the following tips:

  • Don't pet or approach a strange dog without obtaining specific permission from its owner.  
  • Use your nonverbal body language to your advantage.  Don't look a dog directly in the eye, and don't run away from a dog.  This may engage their instinctual drives and make them want to chase you!  If you must get away, back away slowly.  
  • If a dog approaches you unexpectedly, stand still.  
  • Don't get between a dog that is eating, sleeping, or watching over its puppies.  
  • If a dog is being aggressive towards you, don't shout at them.  Use a strong, calm voice. You can also give a dog something else to focus on, such as a jacket, branch, or other object to bite.
  • If it does get to the point that you are attacked, roll into a ball, cover your head and face with your hands, and stay still.   


If the bite is serious enough, you may require medical attention.  You may also wish to get tested for rabies and other diseases that dogs may carry.  If the dog appears to be a tray, you should call the local animal control center and let them know about the situation. 


If you know the dog or the dog appears to be owned by someone, it is important for you to know that you have legal rights.  Dog owners have the responsibility to keep their dogs safe, contained, and not a risk to others.  If you are bitten by a dog and are seeking legal counsel, your claim for damages based on your injuries or disfigurement will be based on a theory of negligence, and will be very complex.  You need an attorney that has experience in handling the difficulties of these types of claims.   Our law firm will review the facts and analyze the law to provide you with a thorough evaluation of your claims. 


If you or a loved one suffered an injury or disfigurement from a dog bite, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr.  Attorney Doug Stoehr has experience in handling dog bite cases, and will thoroughly evaluate your claim.   Call us today at (814) 946-4100 for a free initial consultation.  

Thanks to Live Science for the background information.

Bite Prevention: Keeping Your Dog From Harming Others

Often, we hear about the victims' sides in terms of dog bite cases.  However, what can owners do to prevent their dogs from biting other dogs or people?  Take a look at these tips below, courtesy of HumaneSociety.org:

  • Spay or neuter your dog to decrease their likeliness towards aggression
  • Socialize your dog, in a controlled way, with other dogs, people, and circumstances.
  • Train your dog, and strongly consider completing formal obedience classes. The Humane Society goes on to say that "Never send your dog away to be trained; only you can teach your dog how to behave in your home. Note that training classes are a great investment even for experienced dog caregivers."
  • Teach your dog how to behave.  Don't teach them to chase or attack other things or objects, even for fun. 
  • Be a responsible, active dog owner.  Make sure your dog is always up to date on their licenses and vaccinations. Don't chain them up outside all day or spend a great deal of time alone, because these conditions can often lead to increased aggressive behaviors.  
  • Keep your dog away from situations which they might find stressful, such as fireworks, busy parties, new and unpredictable places, etc.


Is it YOUR responsibility as a dog owner to make sure that your dog is a peaceful, well behaved, and safe member of the community.  Your dog should not pose a risk to you, other animals, or other people.  If needed, seek professional help from a veterinarian or an animal behaviorist to address and extinguish unpredictable, aggressive, and dangerous behaviors in your dog.  Furthermore, in Pennsylvania, liability for a dog attack may even fall to a landlord if they know that the dangerous animal resides on the property. This is important to note if you have renters on properties that you own. 


 On the other side of this discussion, if you are injured in a dog attack, your claim for damages based on your injuries or disfigurement will be based on a theory of negligence, and will be very complex.  You need an attorney that has experience in handling the difficulties of these types of claims. We will review the facts and analyze the law to provide you with a thorough evaluation of your claims.   If you or a loved one suffered an injury or disfigurement from a dog bite, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr.  Attorney Doug Stoehr has experience in handling dog bite cases, and will thoroughly evaluate your claim.   Call us today at (814) 946-4100 for a free initial consultation.  

Much Ado About "Aggressive Dog Breeds"

Recently, Pit Bulls have been receiving a lot of negative attention due to the perceived danger of the breed.  Whether you agree or disagree with this danger, the truth of the matter is that any type of dog breed can be harmful under the wrong circumstances.  Even your neighbor's toy poodle can cause serious damage under stress!

Howver, if you or a loved one have been attacked or bitten by a dog, you as a victim have rights. Many people do not know their rights and therefore fail to go after the compensation they deserve.  Dog bite laws can be confusing and may vary from state to state. Here is what you need to know about dog bite laws in Pennsylvania:


1.) Legal liability must be proven in order to receive compensation from an attack.  This means that a victim must prove that the dog owner was being negligent in order for the owner to be held responsible for the attack.
2.) Landlords may be held liable for injuries by a dog their tenant owns/takes care of if he/she is aware that the dog is a danger and fails to take action to remove the pet from the premise.
3.) If a dog is deemed "dangerous" different laws and penalties may apply. A dangerous dog is one that has a previous record of attack or has attacked without provocation or both. 


Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving Blair and the seven surrounding counties in central Pennsylvania.  He takes cases for victims of dog bites and other types of animal attacks. For more information on his Altoona, PA area firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com.

Throwback Thursday: Your Rights and Dog Bites

Every year nearly 5 million people are bitten by dogs, and close to half of those victims are children.  1 in 5 people that are victims of dog bites require medical attention, which equates to about 900,000 Americans that received medical attention for dog bites in the past year. 
In 2012, dog bites accounted for approximately one third of settlements of all homeowner's insurance liability claims.  Pennsylvania ranked fifth in states with the most dog bite insurance claims. 


Pennsylvania law does not impose absolute liability on an owner for dog attacks, not even in respect to a dog having vicious tendencies of which the owner is aware.  The plaintiff will need to prove negligence in order for the defendant to be found accountable for any injuries sustained because of a dog bite.  In order to prove a dog bite case, historically the claimant had to prove that the dog had bitten at least once in the past.  However, the law in Pennsylvania now is the following:  If a dog has any vicious propensities, regardless of whether it has bitten in the past, the dog's actual bite upon you can serve as the standard for determining whether the owner was negligent.

Liability for a dog attack may even fall to a landlord.  A landlord may be held liable for injuries by animals owned and maintained by a tenant when the landlord has knowledge of the presence of the dangerous animal and where he or she has the right to control or remove the animal by retaking possession of the premises. 

Your claim for damages based on your injuries or disfigurement will be based on a theory of negligence, and will be very complex.  You need an attorney that has experience in handling the difficulties of these types of claims.   We will review the facts and analyze the law to provide you with a thorough evaluation of your claims. 

If you or a loved one suffered an injury or disfigurement from a dog bite, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr.  Attorney Doug Stoehr has experience in handling dog bite cases, and will thoroughly evaluate your claim.   Call us today at (814) 946-4100 for a free initial consultation. 

Run Away? Stand Your Ground? What To Do If A Dog Attacks!

Many of us own dogs that are happy, healthy, harmless, and well-adjusted.  They are members of our family, play with our children, and are a part of many important life moments.  However, not all dogs are as friendly as your trusty friend!  Ever year, hundreds of people are severely injured in dog attacks all over the country.  The local division of CBS in Pittsburgh offered up some tips and tricks to keep you safe in the event that you are confronted with a potentially serious and unsafe dog encounter. 

  • Don't make any sudden movements! Neither run away nor towards a dog that looks ready to attack. 
  • Be as calm as you can! The more stressed and scared you get, the more the dog will pick up on it. 
  • Don't look the dog in the eye or scream!
  • When approaching a dog with an owner, always ask before petting if it's okay.  If the owner says yes, allow the dog to smell the back of your hand first.  If they appear angry or on edge, don't put them further. 

In some cases, liability for a dog attack may fall to a landlord.  A landlord may be held liable for injuries by animals owned and maintained by a tenant when the landlord has knowledge of the presence of the dangerous animal, and where he or she has the right to control or remove the animal by retaking possession of the premises. 

If you are bitten by a dog and are seeking damages, your claim for damages based on your injuries or disfigurement will be based on a theory of negligence, and will be very complex.  You need an attorney that has experience in handling the difficulties of these types of claims.   Our law firm will review the facts and analyze the law to provide you with a thorough evaluation of your claims. 

If you or a loved one suffered an injury or disfigurement from a dog bite, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr.  Attorney Doug Stoehr has experience in handling dog bite cases, and will thoroughly evaluate your claim.   Call us today at (814) 946-4100 for a free initial consultation.  

Keeping Owners and Dogs Safe During the Holidays

With Halloween almost here and Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, the holidays can be a stressful time for both dogs and their owners.  Incidents of dog bites appear to increase this time of year, and is often due to dogs being surrounded by an increase of movement, unfamiliar environments, and people who may scare or anger them!  In order to keep both pets and owners safe this holiday season, our law firm has a few tips to offer:


  • Consider separating the dog in a quiet, familiar area when people are over.  Give them food, water, and some treats to occupy them and make them feel comfortable.
  • Put one family member in charge of checking in on the dog, making sure they are safe, and being aware of any signs of stress.
  • Don't allow your children to pet or hug unfamiliar dogs without the owner's permission.
  • Assign one adult to watch one child, not multiple children, for the duration of their visit.  

If you or a loved one suffered an injury or disfigurement from a dog bite, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr.  Attorney Doug Stoehr has experience in handling dog bite cases, and will thoroughly evaluate your claim.   Call us today at (814) 946-4100 for a free initial consultation.  

Dog Bite Claims Are Becoming More Expensive

According to an online insurance website, dog bites accounted for over 33% of all homeowners insurance liability claims last year.  The costs exceeded $530M nationwide, as noted in data from the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm insurance. Although the total number of dog bite claims decreased by about 5% from the previous year, the cost per claim rose by 15%.  From the years of 2003 to 2014, the cost per dog bite claim rose over 67% nationwide.  Last year, Pennsylvania had 861 reported dog bite claims, with each claim averaging about $26,000 for a total cost of over $22M for all reported PA claims. 

To avoid dog bite claims, it is best to choose a breed of dog that is not traditionally aggressive. Active socialization to people and other animals, obedience training, and keeping dogs restrained, whether in a fenced-in yard or by using a leash, are all effective ways of avoiding a potentially expensive dog bite claim. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite and would like to consult with Attorney Stoehr at the Law Offices of Attorney Doug Stoehr, please contact our law office at 814-946-4100.

Prevent Dog Bites This Summer With A Few Simple Tips!

US News & World Report's Health section recently offered up a few tips to prevent dog bites, which become increasingly common as summer approaches.  Some of their practical, easily accessible tips include:

Talk to your vet about the best breed choice for your family when thinking about adding a dog to your household.  Make sure to train, socialize, neuter, and vaccine your new pet!

  • Never leave a baby or small children alone with a dog, even a family pet.
  • Teach children how to respect and be safe around pets.  Such concepts may include not disturbing a sleeping dog and not playing with their food.
  • Always ask an owner's permission before approaching or petting their dogs.  Teach your children to do the same. Allow the dog to sniff you first, and avoid touching common "sensitive" spots such as a dog's face and tail.
  • Don't run past an unfamiliar dog.
  • If a dog looks threatened or ready to attack, remain calm! Do not make eye contact, and either stand still or back away slowly. If you are knocked over, curl into a ball and covered your face with your arms and hands.  
  • If you do end up bitten, call your doctor or go to the local emergency room.  you may require a tetanus shot if yours is not currently up to date. 

Pennsylvania law does not impose absolute liability on an owner for dog attacks, not even in respect to a dog having vicious tendencies of which the owner is aware.  Liability for a dog attack may even fall to a landlord.  A landlord may be held liable for injuries by animals owned and maintained by a tenant when the landlord has knowledge of the presence of the dangerous animal and where he or she has the right to control or remove the animal by retaking possession of the premises. 

If you or a loved one suffered an injury or disfigurement from a dog bite, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr.  Attorney Doug Stoehr has experience in handling dog bite cases, and will thoroughly evaluate your claim.   Call us today at (814) 946-4100 for a free initial consultation.  

CDC Reports On Dog Bites: Part 2

Continuing yesterday's article about dog bite attacks across the country, we will refer to the Center for Disease Control's (CDC's) website relating to dog bites and attacks.  Please view the original webpage by clicking this link. Some of the information provided by the CDC relates to helping children interact with dogs, especially since children are one of the most vulnerable populations for dog attacks.  Some tips for children/dog interaction include 1) cautioning the child to be very still when approaching an unfamiliar dog, 2) if the child is knocked over by a dog, they should roll into a ball and remain very still, and 3) avoid direct eye contact with the dog.  

If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog and has suffered an injury or disfigurement, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr.  Attorney Doug Stoehr has experience in handling dog bite cases, and will thoroughly evaluate your claim.   Call us today at (814) 946-4100 for a free initial consultation.

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