Dog Bites and Attacks: Rottweiler

By Dr. Manfred Herrmann Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub (ADRK)
By Dr. Manfred Herrmann Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub (ADRK)

Dog Bite Statistics – Children Are Most Likely Victims to Be Bitten by a Rottweiler Dog

There are approximately 4.7 million dog bites every year according to the Center for Disease Study. Approximately 1 out of every 5 dog bite victims require emergency medical treatment. Children ages 5 to 9 years old sustain more dog bites than any other age.

Dog bites disproportionately affect children. Young children are full of wonder and curiosity and are often prone to exploration and experimentation. Most do not understand there should be physical boundaries between humans and animals especially between dogs and children who are often naturally drawn to animals. A child’s innocence and naiveté coupled with an over protective dog can lead to problems. Children will almost instinctively kiss or hug a dog around its neck . A dog exhibiting any forms of the aggression listed below will likely snap if confront with an innocent embrace.

Child dog bite attack injuries are usually more serious then those suffered by adult victims. Children are smaller and weaker and thereby less capable of fending off dog attacks. Children are also shorter and their head, neck and face are in closer proximity to a dog’s mouth.

About Rottweiler Attacks

Rottweilers, also referred to as “rotts” or “rotties” are a medium to large breed of dog and can weigh anywhere from 77 pounds to 130 pounds depending on the sex. Rottweilers were originally bred to herd livestock and pull carts of food and goods to the market. They are one of the earliest police dogs to serve in the military.

Rottweilers will attack adults almost as much as they attack children. Because of their strength they are capable of inflicting great harm even when they are not trying to.  Rottweilers are one of the first dog breeds to be developed with a strong prey drive to herd (bred to chase other animals).  Because of their large size and herding instinct, rottweilers can cause serious bite injuries with their powerful jaws, but they can also cause injuries that result from being chased, tripped or even pinned by these large dogs.

Merritt Clifton is an editor of Animals 24-7. He performed an extensive record review and determined that Rottweilers were responsible for the following number of disfiguring injuries and deaths over a 32 year period from 1982 to 2013.  Attacks committed by several Rottweiler mixes were also documented:

Breed Bodily Harm Child Victims Adult Victims Deaths Maimings % of total dog population
Rottweiler 535 297 141 85 296 2.76%
Rottweiler/German Shepherd Mix 18 9 8 8 3 N/A

Dog Aggression and Why Dogs Bite

A major objective of dog breeders over the centuries has been to produce dogs that are more and more aggressive. They have done this to produce dogs that provide for better protection or for entertainment in the form of dog fighting breeds like the pit-bull.

Dog bites can occur for many reasons. Dogs exhibits several types of aggression which results in biting including:

  • Dominance Aggression: Usually directed at family members that interact with the dog. This form of aggression is triggered when something is taken from the dog or the the family member pets, holds, pick-ups or disturbs the dog when it is sleeping.
  • Defensive Aggression: Can be directed to family member and non-family members and occurs when the dog is afraid and approached too quickly.
  • Territorial Aggression: Directed at strangers that approach the home or yard.
  • Predatory Aggression: Directed at small and quick moving animals and children.
  • Pain Elicited Aggression: Directed to anyone that approaches the bog while it is in pain or injured.
  • Punishment Elicited Aggression: Directed at anyone who yells, or hits the dog.
  • Redirected Aggression: Directed at any person that approaches the dog when it is in an aggressive state.

Child Dog Bite Law in Massachusetts

Massachusetts law provides protection for victims of dog bites and attacks; especially when young children are the victims. Under Massachusetts law, a dog owner or keeper is strictly liable for dog bites unless the victim was trespassing, teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog, or was committing another tort (wrongdoing.)  However, a child under the age of 7 is automatically presumed to have done nothing to cause the attack and cases are almost always in favor of children age 6 and under:

General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 140: Section 155. Liability for damage caused by dog; minors; presumption and burden of proof. Section 155. If any dog shall do any damage to either the body or property of any person, the owner or keeper, or if the owner or keeper be a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor, shall be liable for such damage, unless such damage shall have been occasioned to the body or property of a person who, at the time such damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort, or was teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog. If a minor, on whose behalf an action under this section is brought, is under seven years of age at the time the damage was done, it shall be presumed that such minor was not committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog, and the burden of proof thereof shall be upon the defendant in such action

Who is Responsible for Dog Bites (Who You Can Sue for a Dog Bite)

Homeowners Insurance:  The dog owners are strictly liable for all injuries and damages caused by their dogs. The dog owner’s homeowners insurance usually covers dog bite injuries. Sometimes there may be an exclusion in their homeowners insurance policy regarding dog bites though. Every case is different. However, homeowners are allowed to get additional/supplemental insurance in the form of an umbrella policy. Some homeowners insurance policies also contain a specific provision providing limited coverage for dog bites.

Landlord:  In addition to suing the dog owner you are able to bring a claim against a landlord if the landlord knew or had reason to know that there was a dangerous dog residing on the property. If someone reported the dog to the landlord or if the landlord was aware of the breed of the dog and it is a breed that is commonly known to be aggressive then the landlord will be responsible. In most cases a tenant wont have insurance to cover the dog bite attack and that is why it is important to go after the landlord.

When a Child is the Dog Owner:  If a child’s dog bites someone then the child’s parents are responsible for the attack and injuries.

Dog Watcher or Dog Sitter:  If a dog attacks someone while it is is being watched by a neighbor or friend then the dog owner will be responsible for the injuries. Therefore, if the dog owner’s dog bites another person while in the custody of the neighbor, the neighbor would be covered by the dog owner’s insurance policy.

 

Were You Bitten or Attacked by A Rottweiler Dog in Massachusetts?

Experienced Boston Area Personal Injury Attorneys Initial Consultations Are Always Free – No Fee Unless We Recover For You

If you or a loved one has been bitten, attacked or fatally mauled by a Rottweiler dog, or any other breed or mix-breed type of dog, you need an experienced attorney to pursue a claim against the dog’s owner or other responsible parties.  Our lawyers have have a proven track record with over 35 years of legal experience in helping dog bite and accident victims pursue civil claims and we are ready to take on your case today.

No matter where you are located, we are just a phone call away. Call our law offices today to schedule a free no-obligation case review and consultation at (508) 588-0422 or click the link below to use our Free Case Evaluation Form.

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