Portage Incident Subject to the Michigan Dog Bite Statute, According to Mark Bernstein

Michigan dog bite law makes a Michigan dog owner responsible for any physical injury that the dog causes to the Michigan dog bite victim.

Online PR News – 24-February-2010 – – Farmington Hills, MI - A woman from Portage, Michigan faces criminal charges, after her two unattended pit bulls recently attacked both an Australian shepherd and its owner. The local prosecutor charged the woman with multiple misdemeanor offenses, including two counts of having animals running at large, two counts of a dog biting a person, and two counts of destruction of property.

The accused maintained that she was not present at the time of the attack, and that an unknown person released the pit bulls from her fenced yard, enabling their escape and the attack. She acknowledged that one of her dogs became ‘animal aggressive’ after another dog attack nearly six years ago.

Meanwhile, the dog attack victim is recovering from bites on both hands. Regardless of the outcome of the criminal prosecution, the victim could file a civil lawsuit, pursuant to the Michigan Dog Bite Statute, MCL 287.351, to recover damages for injuries to herself and her dog. This law provides that the owner of a dog is liable for any damages suffered by the person who was attacked.

According to the Michigan Dog Bite Statute, the victim may recover for her injuries, whether or not the dog had a history of viciousness or the owner had knowledge of the dog’s propensity to attack.

The Michigan dog bite law is considered a ‘strict liability’ statute. In other words, Michigan dog bite law makes a Michigan dog owner responsible for any physical injury that the dog causes to the Michigan dog bite victim.

The Michigan Dog Bite Statute, MCL 287.351, specifically states:

If a dog bites a person, without provocation while the person is on public property, or lawfully on private property, including the property of the owner of the dog, the owner of the dog shall be liable for any damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.

A comprehensive national study of dog attack injuries revealed that dogs bite approximately 4.7 million Americans every year. Of these, about 800,000 dog bite victims require medical attention.

Each year, 1.8% of the U.S. population is bitten by a dog. One out of every six of the dog bite victims has to seek medical care because of an attack. Tragically, almost half of all dog bite victims are children.

“If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury as a result of a Michigan dog bite, it's important to know and protect your legal rights," says Michigan dog bite lawyer Mark Bernstein. "Michigan dog bites cases are different from other states because Michigan does not allow one 'free bite'. Dog owners are responsible even if they were unaware of the incident or their dog had never bitten before."

Mark Bernstein and the Michigan dog bite attorneys at the Sam Bernstein Law Firm have been protecting the rights of dog bite victims since 1968.

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Marya Sieminski
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