Those three words are what most dog owners would say about their beloved pet, whenever someone has been the victim of a dog bite. I know – both as a plaintiffs’ attorney representing victims of dog bites – as well as a dog lover myself. Dogs are wonderful creatures: They offer friendship, loyalty, unconditional love and much more. And nine times out of ten, when someone’s dog attacks and injures another person, the dog thinks his/her owner is being threatened somehow and is acting to defend the owner.
But that doesn’t make the experience any less physically painful, or any less injurious for the person who’s attacked. Not only is a dog bite extremely painful, for some people it can cause lasting psychological trauma. The number of dog owners in this country increases each year, especially now that many hotels and hospitality organizations welcome them. Letter carriers (formerly “mailmen” and mailwomen”) have always been at especially high risk for dog bites: Almost 6,000 USPS employees were attacked by dogs just in 2019. The problem is so widespread that the Postal Service promotes National Dog Bite Awareness Week each June to raise awareness of the problem, complete with an over-sized laminated card bearing the image of a large, snarling dog, baring its teeth.
But obviously, postal carriers aren’t the only victims of dog bites. Not in the slightest. And as a Massachusetts dog bite lawyer who has handled numerous dog bite cases over the years, I can assure you that the dog involved isn’t typically “Cujo” (from the film of the same name) or a German Shepherd that you’d find on prison grounds. Yes. Little “Fifi” can cause a lot of damage, too. If you doubt that, take a look at her teeth.