Bitten by a dog
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Bitten by a dog What threatens her owner? Why may the victim receive nothing for the harm caused? And who
will be made to blame if the dog is a stray?
A dog is called a friend of a man. Many people love these animals for their loyalty. But no matter how loyal and friendly a four-legged pet is, it can harm. Not so long ago, US President Joe Biden’s Shepherd Dog was bitten by a White House security officer. The press service called the incident a “biting incident.”
At the same time, stray dogs rather than domestic ones become participants in such incidents. According to Rospotrebnadzor statistics for 2020, 353 thousand people suffered from dog attacks in Russia, of which 290 thousand became victims of stray dogs.
At the federal level, animal management is regulated by the Responsible Animal Treatment Act. However, this legal act contains only general requirements. Thus, he establishes that animals should be treated as creatures capable of experiencing emotions and physical suffering. It also states that owners must ensure safety when walking pets.
However, there are no specific requirements in the law. Moreover, his articles often refer to the norms of municipalities and regions. For example, part 3 of Art. 5 of this law prohibits the walking of dogs outside the places permitted by local authorities. And each region determines for itself what these places are. In addition, the law mentions “potentially dangerous dogs”.
By Government Decree No. 974 of July 29, 2019, they include Akbash, American bandog, ambuldog, Brazilian bulldog, bully kutta, Alapakh purebred bulldog (otto), bandog, wolf-dog hybrids, wolfdog (wolf hybrid), ghoul dog, pit bullmastiff, North Caucasian dog, mestizo. But these dogs are not mentioned in regional regulations. And it is not clear what to do when some norms contradict others.
It can be stated that today there is no single legislative framework that includes the rules for keeping pets and methods of working with stray animals.
There are no uniform rules for keeping dogs at the federal level. These issues are left to the mercy of the regions. The subjects, as a rule, have adopted legal acts regulating the issues of registration and vaccination, the procedure for walking four-legged friends, their living conditions in apartments, etc. For example, the law of the Leningrad Region obliges all dog breeders to register their pets at their place of residence. In the Moscow region, owners must annually vaccinate dogs against rabies and take measures to ensure quietness in living quarters.
How to walk your pet properly?
We can say that all the rules in one way or another regulate the following issues: where you can walk your pets and when the dog should be on a leash and muzzled.
For example, in St. Petersburg, the following rules are established:
- the owner must clean up after his animal;
- dog walking is prohibited: in playgrounds; in areas adjacent to schools, kindergartens, hospitals, etc .; in places where cultural and sports events are held;
- in other public places, the dog must be on a leash, and if it is more than 40 cm high at the withers, then also in a muzzle.
In Salekhard, the rules require that dogs go out into the street only on a short leash. And in crowded and public places, animals should also be muzzled. It is possible to release a pet from the leash only with a muzzle, exclusively in poorly populated places and those reserved for walking dogs.
Is it obligatory to register, vaccinate and train a family pet?
Regulations of different regions oblige to vaccinate and register pets. Administrative liability has been established for failure to comply with these requirements. For example, Art. 5.6 of the Moscow City Code of Administrative Offenses provides for a fine of 4-6 thousand rubles. for late vaccination or registration.
Cases of this kind are under the jurisdiction of the prefectures and councils of the capital. But to bring the owner to justice, it is necessary to reveal that the dog is not registered and vaccinated. It should be noted that there are no statistics on these offences. And the fact that many owners do not register dogs and use the services of private veterinary clinics suggests that this regulation is not very effective.
Responsibility for the lack of documents for the dog, as well as the obligation to have documents confirming the passage of training, the current law does not provide. Nevertheless, the owners should issue a veterinary passport for the pet to prove its affiliation and track the vaccinations if necessary.
If the owner has not coped with the pet …
Article 137 of the Civil Code classifies animals as property, although it obliges owners to treat pets humanely. Therefore, any harm caused by a four-legged friend will be compensated by the owner of the dog. In addition, since the rules for keeping and walking dogs have been established at the regional level, when deciding the issue of the owner’s responsibility, the courts and state bodies, first of all, analyze whether these rules were observed by them.
But who will have to answer if the pet was presented to the child and caused harm while on the street under his supervision? Please be aware that local regulations may prohibit minors from walking their dogs. For example, in Moscow, children under the age of 14 cannot walk with dogs and appear with them in public places. Moreover, the Civil Code stipulates that the harm caused by minors is compensated by their parents. It turns out that adults will be to blame.
If the offending dog has no owner …
More often people do not suffer from pets but stray dogs. Who will be the defendant in this case?
Local authorities should deal with the issues of stray animals. In this regard, in all constituent entities of the Russian Federation, rules have been established that oblige municipalities to take measures to supervise stray dogs: organize trapping, build shelters, etc.
If an aggressive flock of stray dogs is running around in the city, it means that the administration of the settlement is not doing its job. And if animals bite someone, the administration will be responsible – it is against her that a claim must be brought. For example, 10 thousand rubles were collected from the administration of the Yamal region. in favour of the parents of a young girl who was bitten by a stray dog.
However, the help of the police is needed here. Of course, no one will look for the offending dog, but the materials of the check will become evident when recovering damage from the municipal authorities.
Civil liability: the owner will pay, but this is not certain
What can the victim count on?
The owner, whose pet took part in the “biting incident”, may face civil liability, which involves compensation for damage caused to the victim. This may include the cost of repairing torn clothes or dry cleaning, the cost of treatment, compensation for non-pecuniary damage.
The amount of compensation will depend on the severity of the injury and the degree of violation of the established rules. So, the Ordzhonikidze District Court of Perm decided that if a dog caused slight harm to human health, then he can count on 10 thousand rubles. And if the same injury the owner brought the pet for a walk without a leash, the court may recover from him 20 thousand.- 30 thousand rubles.. eleven
In addition, if a dog has bitten a child, his parents can additionally demand compensation for moral damage in their favour because they were worried about the health of their child. Thus, the Ninth General Jurisdiction Court of Cassation recovered 5 thousand rubles in favour of the mother of the bitten child
When will the owner have to answer?
The owner of the animal will be liable for damage caused by the pet if he does not prove:
- necessary self-defence. For example, if they tried to rob a man with a dog, entered his apartment, and the pet protected the owner, there can be no question of any responsibility. Thus, the Arkhangelsk Regional Court sided with the mistress of the four-legged defender, who bit a man who entered the house of his ex-wife drunk 13 ;
- gross negligence of the victim. For example, if he went to someone else’s site (but not in a dwelling) or teased an animal. So, the Court of the Jewish Autonomous Region from 100 thousand to 10 thousand rubles. reduced the amount of compensation for non-pecuniary damage in favour of a child who was seriously injured by teasing a dog. In such cases, if the dog has caused harm to health, the owner cannot be completely released from the obligation to compensate for it. Nevertheless, the court will significantly reduce the amount of recoverable damage.
Why can the victim end up with nothing?
The victim will need to prove:
- dog attack;
- the fact that the bitten dog belongs to the person being sued.
The first two circumstances are easily confirmed – it is enough to provide medical documents. But it can be difficult to establish the belonging of a dog. The problem is that civil law does not provide for coercive actions like conducting a search or responsibility for giving false explanations by the defendant. True, in some regions they require that the dog be registered.
But almost all owners ignore this rule, so contacting the district or veterinary service may not give anything. Proof of dog ownership can be found in the materials of law enforcement agencies. But at this stage, the police are not allowed to enter the owner’s apartment without his consent. Therefore, if a person does not let them in and says that the dog is not his, the victim will have to collect the evidence based on his own.
However, it is not always possible to collect evidence. Thus, in the case considered by the Dyatkovo City Court of the Bryansk Region, the plaintiff was unable to prove that she was attacked by a neighbour’s dog. The latter said that it is always walking a dog on a leash and unattended leaves, and where and how the plaintiff was injured, he does not know.
In another case, the plaintiff was also unable to prove that the injuries were caused by the defendant’s sheepdog. The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation came to a similar conclusion. Moreover, for the highest court, it does not matter whether the rules of walking have been violated. Even if the dog was without a leash and muzzle, but the person could not prove that it was she who bit him, the claim will be denied.
The statement of claim is filed according to the general rules of civil procedure:
- those who have suffered from a dog; and if a child was bitten, his parents or legal guardians have the right to apply.
- at the place of residence of the defendant;
- to the district court, if the subject of the dispute is harm caused to health or life, or the cost of the claim is more than 50 thousand rubles.
Administrative responsibility: the landlord will pay the state
In addition to civil liability, the owner of the animal may face administrative and even criminal liability. Here we are talking about a person’s duty to endure negative consequences for violation of the norms of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation or the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
Since in such cases he is responsible to the state, the victim does not receive any payments – the imposed fines go to the treasury. In this case, it will be enough for the victim to submit an application and give explanations or testimony. There is no need to collect evidence and send inquiries – all this will be done by law enforcement agencies.
Administrative responsibility for violation of the rules for keeping dogs is determined by regional legislation, therefore the courts consider cases taking into account its provisions. For example, in Cherepovets, the magistrate discontinued proceedings in the case due to the insignificance of the offence, since the owner of the dog after the incident acquired a “strict” collar and muzzle, apologized to the victim, besides, she had not previously been prosecuted for violating the rules of keeping dogs. And in the Krasnodar Territory, the court considered that the actions of the owner of the animal should be qualified under a heavier article of the administrative law, under which it sent the case for revision.
Criminal liability: can also deprive freedom
The dog can cause serious injury, sometimes even death from bites. In this case, depending on the consequences of the owner’s actions, they will be qualified according to one of the articles of the Criminal Code:
- Art. 118 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – causing grievous bodily harm through negligence; for this crime, punishment can be imposed in the form of a fine of up to 80 thousand rubles, compulsory, corrective labour or restriction of freedom up to 3 years;
- Art. 109 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – causing death by negligence; the owner of the dog will face correctional or forced labour, restriction or imprisonment for up to 2 years.
Thus, the magistrate of the judicial district No. 2 of Berdsk brought to justice under Part 1 of Art. 118 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation of a citizen whose dogs ran away from the site and bit a passerby. He was assigned 350 hours of compulsory work.
However, the owner’s actions will be qualified in this way only if he only violated the rules for walking or keeping dogs. If a citizen deliberately set a pet on a person, he will respond in the same way as if he caused harm using a knife, pistol or other weapons. He will face liability under Art. 111 or 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (for intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm or murder).
So, in 2014, the Pskov District Court of the Pskov Region sentenced a citizen to 7 years and 6 months in prison for setting a dog against a passerby. Moreover, the actions of the defendant were qualified as causing grievous bodily harm with special cruelty and torment for the victim.
Will the dog be taken away?
Often dog lovers are interested in what will happen to their pet, which attacked a person. Many fear that the four-legged friend will have to be put to sleep. Indeed, this is precisely what some of the victims are demanding. However, such a measure of responsibility is not provided for by the current legislation, therefore the courts refuse to satisfy such claims. For example, the Moscow City Court agreed with the lower courts that the request to euthanize the dog was unfounded and, therefore, should be legally rejected. A similar position was taken by the St. Petersburg City Court.
The current legislation provides for the possibility of taking the animal from the owner only in two cases: 1) the owner treats the pet cruelly – then the dog can be taken away forever; 2) a dog unvaccinated from rabies was bitten by another dog – after that, the injured pet will be quarantined for two weeks.
The rules of some regions provide that a pet that has bitten people must be brought by the owner for quarantine, but there is no liability for non-compliance with this measure. No one has the right to restrict the movement of the dog – neither the court nor the state authorities can forcibly quarantine the pet during the proceedings, especially if the dog has a rabies vaccine.
Restrictive measures are possible only if the dog or owner has been in contact with a carrier of the coronavirus infection. However, in this case, the quarantine will take place at home. This is also because not everywhere there are municipal shelters where dogs can be placed. The existing housing facilities are usually filled with stray animals, so there will be no room for a pet.
What if the dog is a victim?
Sometimes dogs themselves become victims. For example, often four-legged pets find themselves under the wheels of a car. What is the threat to the driver in this case? There is no separate article for hitting an animal, so the driver will be responsible according to the general rules of Chapter 12 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation. So, if a driver leaves after a collision, he may be deprived of his driver’s license or arrested (Article 12.27 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation). Such cases are known.
Magistrate court plot number 16 of the Soviet judicial district of Lipetsk citizen sentenced to confinement for three days. A similar position was taken by the magistrate in the Millerovsky judicial district of the Rostov region. Moreover, in these cases, the drivers admitted their guilt and compensated the dog owners for the damage. Perhaps this explains the relatively mild punishment.
In situations where the drivers stated that there was no collision, the courts deprived them of their driver’s license. This was done, for example, by the magistrate of the judicial district No. 10 of the Zasviyazhsky judicial district of the city of Ulyanovsk and his colleague from the judicial district No. 6 of the Sovetsky district of the city of Astrakhan.
- Law of the Leningrad Region of October 26, 2020, No. 109-oz “On the maintenance and protection of domestic animals in the Leningrad Region.”
- Decree of the Government of the Moscow Region of February 14, 2012 No. 163/5 “On amendments to some decrees of the Government of the Moscow Region in the field of veterinary medicine.”
- Law of St. Petersburg dated May 31, 2010 No. 273-70 “On Administrative Offenses in St. Petersburg”.
- Resolution of the Administration of the municipality of Salekhard dated April 26, 2011 No. 206 “On approval of the Rules for keeping pets, catching, keeping and using neglected pets on the territory of the municipality of Salekhard”.
- Law of the City of Moscow dated November 21, 2007 No. 45 “Code of the City of Moscow on Administrative Offenses”.
- Decree of the Moscow Government dated February 8, 1994 No. 101 “On the approval of temporary rules for keeping dogs and cats in Moscow and a temporary regulation on the capture and keeping of stray dogs and cats in Moscow”.
- Clause 14, part 1 of Art. 14.1, clause 15, part 1 of Art. 16.1 of the Federal Law of October 6, 2003, No. 131-FZ “On the General Principles of Organization of Local Self-Government in the Russian Federation.”
- Decision of the Yamal District Court of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug dated July 14, 2020, in case No. 2-58 / 2020.
- The decision of the Ordzhonikidze District Court of Perm in case No. 2-3562 / 16.
- Appeal ruling of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan dated March 29, 2018, in case No. 33-6499 / 2018.
- Determination of the Ninth General Jurisdiction Court of Cassation dated September 24, 2020, in case No. 8Г-6832/2020.
- Determination of the Ninth General Jurisdiction Court of Cassation dated May 28, 2020, in case No. 8Г-2871/2020.
- Appeal ruling of the Arkhangelsk Regional Court dated November 19, 2018, in case No. 33-7381 / 2018.
- Appeal ruling of the Court of the Jewish Autonomous Region dated September 20, 2016, in case No. 33-67 / 2019.
- The decision of the Dyatkovo City Court of the Bryansk Region dated April 11, 2016, in case No. 2-480 / 2016.
- The decision of the Engels District Court of the Saratov Region dated December 21, 2018, in case No. 2-1-5500 / 2018.
- Determination of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dated August 25, 2020, No. 5-KG20-76-K2.
- Determination of the Second General Jurisdiction Court of Cassation dated May 12, 2020, in case No. 8Г-8967/2020.
- Resolution of the magistrate of judicial district No. 20 of Cherepovets, Vologda Oblast dated April 27, 2018, in case No. 5-448 / 2018.
- The decision of the Gulkevichsky District Court of the Krasnodar Territory dated November 14, 2019, in case No. 12-118 / 2019.
- Sentence of the magistrate of the judicial district No. 2 of Berdsk, Novosibirsk region of March 29, 2017, in case No. 1-4 / 2017.
- Verdict of the Pskov District Court of the Pskov Region dated March 7, 2014, in case No. 1-20 / 2014.
- Determination of the Moscow City Court dated August 26, 2015, in case No. 33-30714 / 15.
- Determination of the St. Petersburg City Court dated November 25, 2014, in case No. 33-19001 / 2014.
- Resolution of the magistrate of the judicial district No. 16 of the Soviet judicial district of Lipetsk dated March 17, 2020, in case No. 5-589 / 2020.
- Resolution of the magistrate of the judicial district No. 3 of the Millerovsky judicial district of the Rostov region dated January 20, 2020, in case No. 5-20 / 2020.
- Resolution of the magistrate of the judicial district No. 10 of the Zasviyazhsky judicial district of the city of Ulyanovsk dated November 3, 2017, in case No. 5-794 / 2017.
- Resolution of the magistrate of judicial district No. 6 of the Sovetskiy district of Astrakhan dated July 6, 2018, in case No. 5-993 / 2018.