I was horrified this week to read in the news of an attack on a ten year old girl by a Japanese Akita dog causing her to suffer severe facial wounds requiring over 100 stitches. The little girl was savagely attacked as she played in the garden of a school friend in August of this year.
This week, the owner was convicted under the Act that has been on the statute books since 1871. Ironically, a conviction under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 would not have been competent, because the dog does not come under the prescribed list of what the Government, who passed the Act, constitutes a dangerous one.
In cases involving personal injury of this type, a claim can be made to the CICA. Unfortunately, the CICA have rigid guidelines on these sort of claims. The dog must either be one of the four prescribed by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 or, failing which, proof has to be brought that the dog was known to be vicious towards humans and invariably, the victim of the injury is unable to advance such a record of a course of conduct for a dog that is unknown to them prior to the attack. In essence, many CICA claims fail on this point and the fallback position for the injured party is to sue the owner direct because liability is strict. The potential downside of that is that the owner is a man or woman of straw and has no assets with which to meet a personal injury claim. I know that the personal injury lawyers at Thompsons Solicitors have dealt with many successful claims as owners, these days, are more inclined to take out pet insurance. If that be the case, then liability in Scotland is strict under the Animals (Scotland) Act 1987 and therefore, the insurance company have to pay out.
That reminds me, little Thom has just submitted his Santa list which includes a puppy which means I will have to get on to our insurers before we pander to the little fella's requests.