Settling Disputes in Dog Bite Cases
Updated: Jan 7, 2018
"Niloko kasi yung aso kaya nangagat!"
"Hindi ka muna kasi nagtanong kung pwede siyang hawakan!"
"Lumapit ka kasi eh!"
These are just some of the reasons dog owners use to worm their way out of a dog bite incident. In an attempt to escape responsibility, they will shift the blame to the dog bite victim. The narrative being that the dog was provoked. Meanwhile, the dog bite victim maintains innocence over the dog owner's accusation.
"Wala naman akong ginagawa, nangagat nalang bigla."
"Ako na ang kinagat, ako pa ang may kasalanan?"
"Pinatay ng aso mo ang alaga ko! Ganun-ganun nalang yun?"
The question now is - who really is the aggrieved party – the Biter or the Bitten? If your dog happens to be involved in a dog bite incident, what should you do? Who should shoulder the blame and everything it entails? Who should pay for what happened?
When taking your dog out in public, always supervise interactions with other people and animals. If he or she has aggressive tendencies, it's okay to use a muzzle or busal to prevent bite incidents. Refer to Sec. 5., Rule 5(c)1. of the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007: “Aggressive dogs shall be muzzled in public places.”
SEC. 5. of Republic Act No. 9482, otherwise known as the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007, clearly states that the pet owner must “[a]ssist the Dog bite victim immediately and shoulder the medical expenses incurred and other incidental expenses relative to the victim’s injuries.”
The law is very straightforward regarding the issue. Dog owners are strictly liable for damages or injuries caused by their animal. However, disputes arise when a dog owner is reluctant to acknowledge his fault. He resists to offer assistance. He tries to blame the dog bite victim to avoid paying.
My rule is simple: your dog, your responsibility.
In other words, take responsibility whether your dog was provoked or not. You are always the one at fault if your dog does something bad. A bite incident is a reflection of your lack of control over your dog and you have no right to blame the victim nor negotiate the bill.
Some DON'Ts when settling disputes:
Don't use “prey drive” as an excuse. It is instinctual for all dogs to chase anything that is moving. However, it CAN be controlled through training.
Don't blame the family of the Bitten. You will only antagonize them even more by doing so. Even if the injuries sustained were minor, immediately, offer assistance in any way possible.
Don't discount the value of the Bitten in case the bite was fatal. Whether it be a dead pet, dead farm animal, more so if it was a dead person, he or she has value that no amount of money can replace! Regardless, you still need to express sympathy, grief, acknowledgement of the offense, and compliance to corresponding penalties. At this point, you are relying on the family's good graces for forgiveness.
You cannot ask society to adjust to your dog. You should be the one teaching him/her how to adjust to different environments. After all, it is your job to train your pet.
Lastly, always maintain control over your dog and do all the necessary precautions to protect the safety of other people and other animals. Remember that you’re sharing the space with them too! Again, YOUR DOG, YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!
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