What Do Michigan Dog Owners Need To Know About Their Pets & Their Liability
Mike Morse Law Firm specializes in dog bite cases. Our expert attorneys have seen everything from small scratches to horrendous and debilitating injuries caused by dogs. That being said, the Mike Morse Law Firm consistently supports The Michigan Humane Society and even sponsors WDIV’s All 4 Pets program that waives adoption fees for a pet going to a good home. Mike got his dog, Jessi, at a Humane Society event and Jessi has become essential to the Morse family. Everyone in the office knows Jessi and she is the star of the show at Mike’s barbeques.
Since we’ve had to move out of our office and work at home due to
COVID 19, we frequently have “Zoom at noon” calls where an employee teaches a skill to the rest of the firm. One of our attorneys, Ryan VanStone recently was our expert and taught us puppy training tips. He has an 8-month-old golden retriever puppy and showed off his dog ringing a bell and other fun tricks. At points in the video you can hear Mike adding his own tips and suggestions for more tricks. It’s safe to say the Mike Morse Law Firm loves pets!
As much as we love them because we are legal experts we know that we have to protect ourselves from liabilities. Mike was recently on a podcast called Animal Talk to discuss the legal implications of owning a pet. Animal behavioral expert, Brian Donovan, said: “We consider pets to be part of the family, but in legal terms, pets are property.” Mike agreed to describe the criminal and civil repercussions to pet owners if their pet attacks someone else. An owner can receive a charge of involuntary manslaughter if their pet attacks and kills another person. This is punishable by up to 15 years in prison or a $7,500 fine. An owner can serve up to 4 years in prison or a lesser fine for a serious injury caused by a pet. As Mike states in the podcast, the Mike Morse Law Firm handles more civil cases and they are much more common in pet attacks than criminal charges.
How can you protect yourself and your family? Mike recommends buying good homeowner’s insurance and being honest with your carrier that you own a dog. Additionally, make sure you are taking care of your dogs and you don’t own more dogs than you can handle. If your dog bites, keep the dog separated from people and get an animal trainer to help. Pet owners are responsible for any damage their pet causes and if they don’t have insurance they could lose everything. Be smart and take care of your pet and your family. Give your pet a treat for us!