There are not many situations under which a dog owner is likely to escape being held liable for injuries caused by an out-of-control pet. We highlighted this in a blog post last month, noting that Connecticut law is quite clear.
The law makes plain that a dog must be controlled at all times. If it's off the owner's property it must be leashed. If the animal is in the care of someone else, the responsibility for leashing and control extends to that person. If you have suffered the trauma of an animal attack, you may well have the right to seek compensation for your loss and to cover the cost of your recovery from those who neglected or ignored the law. An attorney is best equipped to help you determine what your rights are and how they might be enforced.
There are some situations in which the law does limit liability to the owner. If the victim was mistreating or teasing the animal, the owner is not legally responsible. If the attack happened while the victim was trespassing on the owner's property, compensation can't be sought.
The presumption under the limits of the law is that the owner of an animal is known. Sometimes that isn't the case. When it is it can make efforts at recovery more of a challenge and the pressure is on authorities to find the owner.
This appears to be the situation officials face in connection with a horrible dog attack last week in Plainfield. According to police, an 89-year-old woman and a Meals on Wheels driver were injured by an apparently abandoned pit bull.
The driver suffered a bite on the hand. The elderly woman suffered a worse fate. Authorities say the dog ravaged both of her arms and hands. The attack was so vicious that it left the bones of one hand exposed. At last word, she was recovering at Hartford Hospital.
The dog has since been put down, but police say they're looking to find the owner and are asking the public for its help in that regard.