Michigan Attorney Calls for Tougher Enforcement of Animal Control Laws in Wake of Pit Bull Attacks

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A series of pit bull attacks this summer in the Metro Detroit area demonstrates the need for stronger local ordinances and tougher enforcement of animal control laws, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan attorney Thomas L. Stroble says.

Being attacked by a dangerous dog, which could be a pit bull or any other breed, can be a painful and traumatic event for a person, and we need to do more to prevent these incidents from happening.

The key to preventing dangerous dog attacks is not only having strong animal control laws on the books but tougher enforcement of those laws, says Bloomfield Hills personal injury lawyer Thomas L. Stroble.

A series of pit bull attacks this summer in the Metro Detroit area, including an incident involving a 4-day-old Waterford Township boy reported earlier this month by The Detroit News, demonstrates the need for tighter regulation of vicious animals, according to Stroble.

“It’s not enough to have a pit bull ban in place or a vicious dog or dangerous animal ordinance. You need to have the resources and the commitment to enforcing those laws,” says Stroble of The Stroble Law Firm, P.C., which represents dog bite victims throughout Oakland County, Macomb County, Warren, Clinton Township, Sterling Heights, Rochester, St. Clair Shores, Mount Clemens, Utica and Roseville.

“Being attacked by a dangerous dog, which could be a pit bull or any other breed, can be a painful and traumatic event for a person, and we need to do more to prevent these incidents from happening,” Stroble says.

Pit bull attacks tend to grab most media attention, and many communities have reacted to those attacks by enacting pit bull bans. For instance, Waterford Township enacted a pit bull ban in 1989.

However, according to an Oakland Press article, Labrador retrievers actually accounted for 63 dog bites reported to Oakland County Animal Control, comprising almost 12 percent of the total number. German shepherds were second with 60 bites, while pit bulls accounted for 59.

“The focus shouldn’t necessarily be on a dangerous breed of dog, but on the careless or reckless control of a dog by its owner,” Stroble says. “More funding for local police and animal control could help to identify situations where an owner’s handling of his or her dog places others at risk of injury or death.”

Stroble points out that Michigan law allows for dog bite victims to hold the dog’s owner accountable for their injuries, which can include emergency room treatment, stitches, shots, X-rays and rehabilitation, and which can result in loss of income in addition to pain and suffering.

Under Michigan’s dog bite statute, the dog’s owner can face absolute liability for any damages as long as the victim did not provoke the dog or incite it to attack.

A person can also recover damages under a strict liability theory, which is based on the dog’s owner knowing of the dog’s “abnormal dangerous propensities,” or under common law theories of negligence, battery and trespass.

“Hopefully, the very serious civil consequences a dog owner can face if their dog attacks, mauls or bites another person serves as a deterrent,” Stroble says. “Our attention should be on prevention and not reaction to such attacks.”

About The Stroble Law Firm, P.C.

The Stroble Law Firm, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which represents medical malpractice victims and their families throughout the state of Michigan, including Macomb County, Warren, Clinton Township, Sterling Heights, St. Clair Shores, Mount Clemens, Utica and Roseville. The firm’s personal injury practice areas also include truck accidents, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, birth injuries, slip and fall, dog bite and wrongful death. To learn more about The Stroble Law Firm, P.C. call (248) 454-0800 or (888) 454-0801 or use the firm’s online contact form.

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