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Should dog owners be prosecuted if their animal attacks someone?

21 Comments
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Not necessarily, at least not for one-off incidents. Animals are independent and can do things unexpected, particularly if the person they attack acts in a way that makes them appear to be a threat.

A dog owner whose dog consistently attacks other people who are themselves innocent of threatening the dog though, yeah, they should be prosecuted because the owners are obviously not taking responsibility for their public health threat.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Although each case should be judged based on the facts, dog owners are responsible for training their dogs to obey, for keeping their dogs under control when outside, for not allowing strangers to approach and touch their dogs, for making sure vulnerable people like kids are kept away from the animals. Not only dogs should be trained, but humans should be, too.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

A one off incident results in death, does the dog and it's owner get a free pass? If the owner is known to groom violent dog, does the dog committing the one off attack get a free pass? If unknowledgeable owner is unable to control a dog resulting in a one off action resulting in death, does the owner get a free pass?

The answer logically is no. By owning a dog, a person takes responsibility for the animal's actions. In situations where the animal is not able to act correctly, it is up to the owner to control the animal and protect all parties involved.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Not allowed to comment unless you vote?

Not able to vote because there's no 'It depends' button. I clicked both 'Yes' and 'No', neither highlighted but 'Vote' let me into the Comments. Maybe I voted without knowing.

Should dog owners be prosecuted if their animal attacks someone? It depends.

If the dog is untrained/out of control/unusually aggressive towards strangers, it's the owner's responsibility to train the animal, keep it under control and keep it away from strangers. Any incidents that occur are totally the owner's responsibility

If a well-trained, under control, normally non-aggressive dog is minding its own business and some fool comes along getting in its face, teasing it, throwing rocks at it or otherwise generally being abusive, then it's the fool who needs to be prosecuted.

Owners, keep your dogs away from fools. Or rather, protect your dogs from fools.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Especially in Japan, problems are less with the dogs (or other pets) than with the people owning or responsible for them.

Some breeds being more suitable than others for the kawaii-kawaii treatment or left outside on a one-meter stretch of rope notwithstanding, many people have no idea. I agree with @Maria:

 Not only dogs should be trained, but humans should be, too.

The onus of responsibility comes with registration and taking care of the animal. Therefore prosecution if something goes wrong is always a potential outcome. And in Japan, where laws do not exist until they are applied, you are gonna get it if your dog bites the hand of the wrong person.

Fundementally, realising that dogs are not humans is Lesson 1 in training humans. For instance, dogs say Hello (in their way) but never say Good bye!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

dogs say Hello (in their way) but never say Good bye!

We used to have a lovely dog that would sit in the genkan and wave a paw at people leaving the house.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What if your dog was being teased or abused by a stranger, and your dog bit him? Your dog can't say what happened and some sick bastard gets away with it. So I say no to the question.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Depends. If the owners are abiding by laws, have the dog on a leash and what have you, then no. If they let the dog run around without a leash, or have been abusing it so it is aggressive, etc. then yes. A dog is an animal, and like any other, there are times that it will just lash out, particularly if provoked. I don't think owners should be charged if it's truly an accident, depending on the severity. Nor do I think dog's should suffer being put to sleep when it is clear that owners are nothing but abusive.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

what if your dog was being teased or abused by a stranger,

What if?

Where are you - the owner - in this scenario? and why is your dog running around loose or being left alone long enough for this to happen?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

They're prosecuted in my country.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sometimes it's just the natural defense system of a dog that activates. The owner can't always prevent the dog's natural behaviour of protecting it's owner from dangers, but the owner should teach the dog about these specific dangers. Not like when a child walks up to pet the dog and steps within the "danger-zone" and such.

But to blame it all on the owner is wrong. It depends on what kind of actions the individuals that were attacked performed on the dog to provoke his "defense-system".

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Surely in any civilized country people should be able to go about their business in public without being bitten by dogs. In countries that have Rabies, being bitten by a dog carries the risk of dying from "Mad Dog Disease. A most unpleasant way of dying.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Just say the dog was drunk and it doesn't remember anything.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

MariaToday  01:59 pm JST

What if?

Where are you - the owner - in this scenario? and why is your dog running around loose or being left alone long enough for this to happen?

I've often seen cases where neighborhood kids tease a dog from out of its reach just because they have a beef with the owner's kids in school. They are so young that they don't comprehend canine psychology or how the dog could react to their behavior.

We see houses with yards much more rarely in Japan than elsewhere in the world, but it's not inconceivable that some house in the countryside has a fenced yard with an area for the dog to safely play in without being constantly watched by its owners. The dog is no threat to people outside, the owner has not been irresponsible with their dog's safety, but all it takes is one naughty neighbor kid sticking their hands in the fence after tormenting the animal for there to be a nip, which the victim calls a bite, which leads to an investigation.

Neither the innocent animal nor the innocent owner should be punished in such a situation.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Are there any Laws in Japan concerning Dangerous Dog breeds ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes, of course. Dogs are trained and controlled by their human master. Otherwise they are a stray dog and beyond the scope of the question.

Tokyo now has so many dogs it is crazy. AND all of these dogs go bathroom outside in the street or park. Not something I think is entirely appropriate having kids who also use the parks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I guess it depends on the circumstances. However, I remember once in university being charged by a Golden Retriever as I was walking through an open space on campus. Having been raised around watch dogs, I ignored it, stuck my hands into my front pockets and kept walking at my normal pace. The dog took a snip at my pocketed hand, the owner ( a female student by the looks of her) was just laughing away in the background at her unruly dog. I told her that she should have the dog on a leash in a public setting like that. Luckily for her it wasn't somebody else who may have taken off running and being attacked by it. I don't have the same fear of dogs many people have, but some people are afraid of dogs and they don't know how to respond to a dog like that coming at them.  I shouldn't have been subjected to that, but I am familiar with watch dogs so didn't panic in that situation. What also surprised me was the casual, irresponsible attitude of the dog owner. I was always watchful of my watch dogs when approached by others outside of the family. If people came up wanting to touch one of my dogs, I'd tell them it was best not to because this dog likes to bite.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Dog owners are responsible for their pets, end of discussion. It does not matter the circumstances. Every year thousands of kids are bitten by dogs off leash. A friend of my mine had her dog killed by another dog again off leash. The owner as is the case so often with dopey pet owners did not even offer an apology for his animal killing my friends dog.

Dog need to be licenses like guns in Japan and when dogs cause harm owners need to go to jail. Only then would the carnage caused by dog owners be reduced.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You mean they're not? Owners are responsible for the animal.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tokyo now has so many dogs it is crazy. AND all of these dogs go bathroom outside in the street or park.

They can't go to the bathroom- there are none in the street. In fact, I would never let a dog use my bathroom. If they are going to defecate, they should do it the street and the owner should pick it up after them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You know, who owns the reponsibility for that? Dogs? Can dogs take responsibility for injuring others? and Can dogs pay in compensation? I don't think so. That's why the owners should do it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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