We have pretty straightforward advice to those who get bitten by a dog: Seek medical treatment and consult a personal injury attorney to determine whether you can recover for damages. With that out of the way, let’s turn the tables and side with the canines that took a beating from their owners.
For many, dogs are like family. When someone harms or kills one of our own, that person better lawyer up. But what happens when it’s pet owners who inflict harm on their own pooch? Here are some cases that show that your pet’s life is as valuable as your own.
Labrador gets in the way of lovers’ spat
A 3 ½-year old Labrador retriever named Harley was like a child to Florida couple Ginger Whidden and Michael Flowers. And as a fur kid who gets upset when its parents fight, Harley expresses distress whenever they quarrel.
In one particularly heated argument, Flowers and Whidden fought over the former’s excessive alcohol and prescription pill abuse. It quickly became apparent that Harley took Whidden’s side when it growled at Flowers, who then stabbed the little yapper in the ribs.
Flowers claimed the dog bit him, but police found no bite marks or any sign of dog-inflicted injuries. They did find multiple evidence of heavy intoxication, which led to the mutt-stabber being charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.
Intoxicated Chihuahua incriminates its drunken master
Drinking and driving don’t mix. And if you add an intoxicated dog to this deadly cocktail, you add one more item to an already long list of DUI-related offenses.
After a few sips of vodka, 44-year old Thomas Bloedel has reached the level of drunk characterized by an inability to tell right from wrong and water from gin. After crashing his SUV into a pole, nearby police patrollers found him cradling a bottle of Smirnoff on his lap with his Chihuahua Maxwell riding shotgun.
Bloedel was clearly intoxicated as demonstrated by his red watery eyes, slurred speech, and stench that defies breathalyzer tests. And like his master, Maxwell has an appetite for Russian spirits, which is why he lapped up the spilled vegas water in the vehicle and had to be taken to the vet where he was diagnosed with alcohol poisoning.
A dog may be man’s best friend, but it’s the worst kind of friend to take out for drinks. The lesson here is clear: Making your dog (or other types of pets) drink alcohol -- whether deliberately or from negligence -- counts as animal cruelty.
Our advice? Go out with a drinking buddy who could take you home after booze night -- not one that could sneak up and sip your spilled spirits and get you in even more trouble.
Fleabag learns not to bite the hand that feeds
More than any other species in the animal kingdom, dogs know better than most not to bite the hand that feeds them. Certain dog breeds may have missed this vital lesson in animal school.
Dog owner Alice Evans has had enough of her pet Chihuahua Big John Evans’ aggressiveness, which has bitten her three times in a span of one year. Deeming the dog incapable of change, she decided to end their complicated relationship.
After strangling Big John to death, Evans had herself treated for her bites, which police reported was no bigger than the size of a pencil eraser. While being examined at the hospital, she casually told the staff that she strangled the beast that bit her, and that any issues she may have had with the mutt are now dead and buried (in her backyard).
Evans is certainly guilty of animal cruelty for which she was charged, but her other crime is that of ignorance. She did not know that blithely telling police officers that she just choked her pet dog is inhumane and a felony of the third degree.
Dog-bite laws differ from state to state. In the state of Washington, dog owners are strictly liable for dog bite cases, which is highly favorable to victims. For personal injury cases involving dog bites (and dog beatings) in the Evergreen State, Buckingham, LaGrandeur & Williams are the top dogs.