A pit bull attacked a 5-year-old boy in West Valley City, Utah on Friday, October 23, 2009. The child was taken to the hospital with head injuries. Police say the dog bit the boy’s face during an Utah dog bite attack on the street near 3000 South and Rae Street. According to KSL, the boy lives across the street from the dog owner. The owner was contacted and said he was not home at the time of the attack, but claims the dog was leashed and in a kennel behind some fences.
The dog’s owner said his roommate witnessed the boy harassing the dog but did not see the attack. Our prayers go out to this little boy for a speedy recovery.
Under Utah law, dog owners, or those that keep dogs, are “strictly liable” for the injuries that their dogs cause. The only limit is if the victim helped contribute to those injuries by teasing or otherwise provoking the dog. In this case, the victim is a 5-year old who is does not think like an adult or teenager might. They are unable to appreciate the possible repercussions of bothering a dog. This is why the prevailing view under Utah law is that a child under the age of seven is conclusively presumed to not be guilty of contributory negligence.
The next issue is insurance. Generally speaking, most renters do not carry insurance to cover this type of claim. Homeowners, on the other hand, do. I would therefore recommend that the parents of this boy contact a Utah dog bite lawyer to find out what insurance remedies are available to help their son in his recovery and down the road.