May 12, 2022
Here are some of the highlights from the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare’s recent press release that states dog-bite related injuries are on the rise in Idaho.
- “Injuries from dog bites are increasing in Idaho, especially among children. Visits to Idaho emergency departments by children for dog bite injuries are trending up. Hospitalizations for dog bite injuries are increasing as well, particularly for boys 5 to 17 years old. Most years, there are about 20 people hospitalized for dog bite injuries in Idaho. In 2020, that number more than doubled to 46.”
- “Dog bite injuries can be severe and may cause mental, emotional, and physical trauma. In the past four years, dog bites have caused more than 165 fractures, 40 partial or complete amputations, and 10 detached ear lobes or lips in Idaho.”
“[I]n Idaho, all dogs, regardless of breed or size, are presumed to be harmless domestic animals.” Bright v. Maznik. While dogs themselves are presumed to be harmless, the law in a dog bite case is anything but. One dog bite can lead to multiple alternative causes of action, including negligence, negligence per se, and strict liability. It is common to see all three of these causes of action pled in one complaint, even if the law surrounding them is a bit confusing. The confusion in the law is evident from the fact that the leading case on dog bites in Idaho, Boswell v. Steele, is not just one case, but instead one reported case from the Idaho Supreme Court, one reported case from the Idaho Court of Appeals, and one unreported case. What makes the law even more confusing is local dog regulations, and whether they create independent causes of action. Please click here to read our full update.
Cities and counties have interjected themselves into the mix in dog bite cases. It seems that, with the exception of Idaho Code § 25-2810(11), most regulations and rules dealing with dogs are dealt with at the municipal or county level. For example, Ada County Code Title 5, Chapter 7, has quite extensive rules regarding animal control, including many code sections about dogs. While the Boswell case appears to make it clear that common law causes of action may be replaced by Idaho Code § 25-2810(11), it is unclear how this works in negligence per se cases. Please click here to read our full update.
Please contact a Gjording Fouser lawyer at 208.336.9777 if you would like any additional information about this topic or any other issues facing your company.