New Seattle Dog Bite Law
Washington State dog bite attorney Chris Davis was interviewed for an article entitled “Seattle Passes Vague New Ordinance That Allows Animal Control to More Easily Kill Biting Dogs” published in Seattle Weekly on June 28, 2011.
Monday Seattle City Council passed a new ordinance giving Animal Control officers the authority to euthanize dogs that have bitten a person. But the ordinance still doesn’t give a specific definition of a “dangerous dog”.
Lawyer Chris Davis, the author of the book When the Dog Bites: The Essential Guide to Dog Bite Claims in Washington, says that the section of the law that defines what kind of injuries a bite victim must suffer in order for the dog to euthanized, is vague.
In addition Davis thinks that the new ordinance does nothing to address what is often the more important aspect of dog-bite protection: insurance.
The law is ambiguous. And in court, that ambiguity could lead to claims being dismissed that are warranted, or claims that are unwarranted going forward.
"The insurance issue is huge," Davis says. "Often the victim is left with thousands of dollars in medical bills. But seven or eight times out of 10, we have to deny the case because the dog owner doesn't have any insurance and don't have the means to pay if we sue."
Davis says a legislative solution would be to require certain breed owners to carry a minimum amount of insurance.