THIS ARTICLE DISCUSSES THE TOPIC OF HOW BREED SPECIFIC LAWS CAN AFFECT A PERSONAL INJURY CASE. HOWEVER, STRICKLAND, AGNER & ASSOCIATES DOES NOT TAKE AN OFFICAL STANCE ON WHETHER SUCH LAWS SHOULD EXIST.
Any breed of man’s best friend can quickly turn against a human and cause serious injury. Some breeds, however, have the potential and reputation of causing more harm than others, particularly those that were originally bred with physical strength in mind.
One such breed is the American pit bull. With its strong muscles and powerful jaw, a pit bull can cause serious damage when provoked. This potential for injury has led many local governments to consider legislation regulating ownership of pit bulls. Throughout most of North Carolina, these legislative pushes have been largely unsuccessful, although in a small number of towns, ordinances have actually been passed.
Whether or not your city or town has adopted an ordinance regarding pit bulls, if you have been attacked by one, you may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries. An experienced North Carolina dog attack attorney can help you understand the laws regarding these types of accidents. Contact the Goldsboro personal injury lawyers of Strickland Agner Pittmans today to schedule a free consultation on your case.
What Is a Considered a Pit Bull?
The American pit bull terrier, better known as the pit bull, was first bred as a mix between bulldogs and terriers, with a focus on physical strength and agility. Although originally intended as a farm dog, the breed got its name from some owners’ tendency to use them for the violent sport of pit fighting.
While the American pit bull terrier is a specific breed recognized by kennel clubs and the like, there are a number of other dogs commonly referred to as “pit bulls,” including a number of mixes with other breeds. For this reason, legislation that targets pit bulls may have to name quite a few types of dogs.
In the hands of a bad owner, any dog can be dangerous.
Understanding Breed-Specific Legislation
Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is any piece of legislation that would regulate the ownership of any particular breed of dog differently from other breeds. This type of legislation is most commonly targeted at pit bulls and other large, powerful breeds such as Rottweilers.
One common theme in this type of legislation is to designate these breeds as “dangerous dogs” or “potentially vicious dogs.” Other than that, specific terms of the legislation can take a number of forms, including:
- A total ban on owning these dogs
- Restrictions on where these dogs can be kept
- Requirements to register these dogs with a government office
Even legislation that appears in media headlines as a “pit bull ban” may in fact be more complicated than it sounds. With any BSL, it is important to look at the specific provisions to find out whether the owner of a dog that attacked you was violating any laws by keeping it or by handling it in a particular way.
Legislation About Pit Bulls in North Carolina
Compared to other states, North Carolina has seen relatively little BSL actually passed. Despite an unsuccessful 2013 effort by the state legislature to pass a form of BSL, pit bulls remain legal to own and are treated the same as other breeds throughout most of the state. A small number of towns, however, have adopted regulations of their own, including:
- Edenton, where it is completely illegal to own a pit bull
- Lumberton, which requires pit bull owners to register their dogs and to keep them either indoors or in a kennel
As you can see, it is only within a very small sliver of the state that anything resembling a pit bull ban is in place. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that even without any specific laws against pit bulls, it is entirely possible to hold a dog owner legally accountable for any injuries their dog caused you, regardless of its breed.
Filing a Lawsuit After a Pit Bull Attack
Generally, it falls to a dog’s owner to make sure that their animal does not injure another person. There are certain reasonable measures a dog owner can be expected to take in order to avoid attacks, including:
- Keeping the dog within the limits of their property and off the streets
- Keeping the dog restrained around strangers
- Warning visitors of the dog before they enter the premises
- Raising the dog in a friendly environment free of violence
- Keeping the dog fed
If the owner fails to do any of these or other things that could reasonably be expected of them, it is possible that they are acting negligently. A personal injury lawsuit against a dog owner typically involves proving that the owner was negligent in some way that led to an injury.
If you have been attacked by a pit bull or by any other breed, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible of these types of negligence. An experienced dog bite attorney can help build this evidence into a strong case against the owner, demanding compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more, even if there is no BSL regarding pit bulls in your area.
Contact Our Knowledgeable Dog Bite Attorneys Today
Recovering from a serious dog bite can be difficult and stressful. On top of the physical pain, you run the risk of infection and may be coping with severe scarring or disfigurement after a mauling.
At Strickland Agner Pittman, we believe that negligent owners who turn their companions into dangerous dogs should be held accountable for the injuries they cause to innocent people. If you or someone you love has been attacked by a pit bull, our Goldsboro dog bite attorneys can help. For more information and to set up a free consultation, call us now at (919) 735-8888.