Dog Bite | Animal Behavior Expert Witness For Attorneys

Richard H. Polsky, Ph.D. CDBC
Los Angeles, California

“Bringing the science of animal behavior to attorneys”

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Curriculum vitae for dog bite expert, Richard Polsky

Education

  • 1965-1970. B.Sc.  The Ohio State University. Area of Specialization: Dog bite expert witnessBiopsychology
  • 1970-1975.  Ph.D. University of Leicester, Dept. Psychology, Leicester, England Area of Specialization: Animal Behavior
  • 1977-1979.  Postdoctoral studies at University of California, Los Angeles
    Area of Specialization:  Animal Behavior

Awards & honors

  • 1977-1978  Postdoctoral Fellowship, Brain Research Institute, UCLA
  • 1979  National Research Service Award, National Institute of Mental Health.

Academic employment

  • 1974-1976  Research Associate in Animal Behavior. Joint appointments in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Birmingham, Birmingham England and the Ethology Laboratory, All Saints Hospital, Birmingham, England.
  • 1979-1982  Research Psychologist in Animal Behavior. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California at Los Angeles.

Non-academic employment

  • 1981-present.  President, Animal Behavior Counseling Services, Los Angeles, CA.
  • 1997-1998.  Staff animal behaviorist, Los Feliz Animal Hospital, Los Angeles, CA.

Teaching experience

  • 1972-1973. Teaching Assistant, Undergraduate Animal Behavior Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Leicester
  • 1983 – 1986. Instructor – South Bay Adult School, Redondo Beach, CA.
  • 1992. Instructor. Home Study Program in Behavioral Modification for Dog and Cats. Approved for continuing education course for credit for veterinarians by the California Veterinary Medical Association

Professional Societies

Professional certification

  • International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants

Presentations at scientific meetings

  • Factors Associated With Treatment Outcome in Dogs Presented With Behavioral Problems. Conference on the Human-Animal Bond, Irvine, CA. June 1983.
  • Variables Affecting Treatment Outcome in Dogs Presented for Behavioral Problems. Annual Meeting of the Animal Behavior Society, Durham, NC. June 1985.
  • Use of Punishment and Counter-Conditioning Techniques to Eliminate Obsessive Tail-Chasing in a Dog. Annual Meeting of the Animal Behavior Society, Davis, CA. July 1993.
  • Aggression in dogs elicited through the use of electronic boundary training equipment. Interdisciplinary Forum in Applied Animal Behavior, Denver, CO. March 1998.
  • Behavioral differences in puppies as measured in self-report data from their owners. Interdisciplinary Forum in Applied Animal Behavior. Atlanta, GA. March 1999.
  • The differential diagnosis of aggression in dogs elicited through the use of electronic pet containment systems. Annual Meeting of the Animal Behavior Society. Atlanta, GA. August 2000.
  • Issues relevant to the animal behavior forensic expert as exemplified in the San Francisco dog mauling case. Interdisciplinary Forum in Applied Animal Behavior. Austin, TX. February 2003.
  • What kind of information is needed to substantiate a dog bite injury? Interdisciplinary Forum in Applied Animal Behavior, New Orleans, LA. March 2011.
  • Police K-9 attacks on innocent bystanders. Annual Meeting of the Animal Behavior Society. Denver, Colorado. July 2013.

Speaking engagements

  • Guide Dogs of America, Sylmar, CA. 1985. Presentation: “Understanding canine social development as it applies to the guide dog.”
  • Southern California Alaskan malamute club, 1983.  
  • Los Angeles SPCA. Presentation: “Canine social behavior and problem-solving techniques.” 1987
  • Southern California Korean Veterinary Medical Association. Presentation: “Diagnosis and treatment of aggressive behavioral problems in dogs and cats.”  1992
  • Southern California Veterinary Medical Association. (Approximately 15 lectures on dog and cat behavior presented at veterinary chapter meetings).
  • Invited Speaker, Annual Meeting of the Sacramento Valley Veterinary Medical Association, Sacramento, CA. 1991. Presentation: “The scientific basis of dog and cat behavior.”
  • Invited Speaker, Law Offices of Bollington, Stilz, Bloeser & Curry (In-house counsel for 20th Century Insurance Co. Woodland Hills, CA.). Presentation: “What the Attorney Needs to Know to Defend Dog Related Injury Claims”.  October 1996.
  • Law Offices of Thomas Moore & Associates (In-house counsel for Allstate Insurance Co. Glendale, CA.). Presentation: “What the Attorney Needs to Know to Defend Dog Related Injury Claims.”  April 1997.
  • VCA-Wes Los Angeles Veterinary Medical Group. Introductory lecture on companion animal behavior presented to incoming veterinary student interns,1989 – 2000.
  • 19th Annual Feline Medicine Symposium. School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis. Presentation: “Inappropriate elimination and aggression in cats.” February 2001.
  • San Fernando Valley Chapter of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association. February 2001. Presentation: “Diagnosis and treatment of aggressive behavior problems in cats.”
  • Kern County Paralegal Association. Presentation: “Recurrent Behavioral Issues in Dog Attack Cases.” January 2003
  • Law Offices of Veatch, Carlson, Grogan & Nelson. Presentation: “Behavioral issues in dog bite litigation as exemplified through three case histories.” February 2003.

Expert Witness Work

1993 – present. Retained by attorneys, housing authorities, municipalities, and dog owners on hundreds of occasions for consultation, report writing, testimony, temperament evaluation and property inspections.  Testimonials

Miscellaneous professional activities

  • Paid consultant in animal behavior to the Los Angeles City Dept. of Animal Regulation, 1987, 1999.
  • Paid consultant in animal behavior to the Los Angeles SPCA, 1990, 1992
  • Publisher of a newsletter on animal behavior for distribution to veterinarians:
  • Bulletin on Companion Animal Behavior. Published quarterly from 1988 – 1992,
  • 1997 – 2002. Renamed subsequently to Literature Review on Dog and Cat Behavior.
  • Publisher of a newsletter entitled Dog Behavior and the Law. Published for occasional distribution to attorneys. 1997 – 2001, 2010 – present
  • Expert witness on the Judge Judy Show, Dr. Polsky rendered testimony in a custody dispute over a dog. May 1998.
  • Paid consultant in animal behavior for television show produced and aired by Fox Television. “When Good Animals Do Bad Things”, September 1998.
  • Editorial consultant/reviewer of manuscripts for veterinary textbook publisher Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins Publishing Company, Baltimore, MD. December 2000.
  • Certified evaluator for the American Kennel Club’s Good Citizen Test, 2003 – 2004.

Authored books

Published papers  (partial listing)

  • Polsky, R. Effects of a novel environment on predatory behavior in golden hamsters. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 1974, Vol. 39, pp. 55-58.
  • Polsky, R. Hunger, prey feeding, and predatory aggression. Behavioral Biology, 1975, Vol. 13, 81-93.
  • Polsky, R. Developmental factors in mammalian predation. Behavioral Biology, 1975, Vol. 15, pp. 353-382.
  • Polsky, R. Conspecific defeat, isolation/grouping, and predatory behavior in golden hamsters. Psychological Reports, 1976, Vol. 38, pp. 571-577.
  • Polsky, R. The ontogeny of predatory behavior in the golden hamster (M.a.auratus). The influence of age and experience. Behaviour, 1977, Vol. 61, pp. 26-27.
  • Polsky, R. The ontogeny of predatory behavior in the golden hamster. The nature of the experience. Behaviour, 1977, Vol. 61, pp.58-81.
  • Polsky, R. The ontogeny of predatory behavior in the golden hamster. Sensory pre-exposure. Behaviour, 1978, Vol. 63, pp. 175-19
  • Polsky, R. The ontogeny of predatory behavior in the golden hamster. Effects of prolonged exposure, ITI, size of prey, and selective breeding. Behaviour, 1978, Vol. 65, pp. 27-42.
  • Polsky, R. Effects of eating dead prey on the subsequent capture of live prey in golden hamsters. Physiology & Behavior, 1978, Vol. 20, pp. 677-680.
  • Polsky, R. The effects of water deprivation on the initiation of predation in golden hamsters. Psychological Reports, 1979, Vol. 44, pp. 995-998.
  • Polsky, R. Review of “Crowding: Theoretical and Research Implications for Population-Environment Psychology.” by L. Severy, Ed. J. Nervous Mental Disease. 1981, Vol. 169, pp. 66-67.
  • McGuire, M., S. Essock-Vitale and R. Polsky. Psychiatric disorders in the context of evolutionary biology: An ethological model of behavioral changes associated with psychiatric disorders. J. Nervous Mental Disease. 1981, Vol. 169. pp. 687-704.
  • Polsky, R. Factors Influencing Aggressive Behavior in Dogs. California Veterinarian, October 1983, pp. 12-15.
  • Polsky, R. Understanding the Job of the Animal Behaviorist. The Latham Letter, Fall, 1985, pp. 12-13.
  • Polsky, R. Companion Animal Behavior from the Viewpoint of an Ethologist. Companion Animal Practice, 1989, Vol. 19, pp. 3-4.
  • Polsky, R. Aggression in Dogs: An Introduction.Veterinary Practice Staff. 1989, Vol. 1, pp. 55-57.
  • Polsky, R. Nature versus Nurture: Are Both Equally Crucial? Animal Behavior Consultant Newsletter. 1989, Vol. 6. pp. 1-2.
  • Polsky, R. Aggression in Cats: An Introduction. Veterinary Practice Staff. 1990, Vol. 2, No. 1. pp. 1-7.
  • Polsky, R. The Causes of Aggression in Dogs. Veterinary Practice Staff. 1990, Vol. 2, No. 2. pp. 37-39.
  • Polsky, R. Aggression in the Veterinary Hospital. Veterinary Practice Staff. 1990, Vol. 2, No.3. 27-29.
  • Polsky, R. Behavioral Alternatives to Declawing. Veterinary Practice Staff. 1990, Vol. 2, No.4. 27-30.
  • Polsky, R. Another Look at Nature versus Nurture: Problem dogs or problem owners? Veterinary Practice Staff. 1990, Vol.2, No.5, pp. 7-10.
  • Polsky, R. A Question of Labels. American Kennel Club Gazette. Oct. 1990. p. 216.
  • Polsky, R. Elimination Problems in Cats: Making a Diagnosis. Veterinary Practice Staff. 1990, Vol. 2, pp. 21-23.
  • Polsky, R. Elimination Misbehaviors in Puppies. Veterinary Practice Staff. 1991, Vol. 3. No.1. pp. 20-22.
  • Polsky, R. Examples of fear aggression and territorial barking in companion dogs. Veterinary Practice Staff. 1991, Vol. 3, No.2. pp. 1, 7-10.
  • Polsky, R. Genetics, and dog behavior. Veterinary Practice Staff. 1991, Vol. 3, No.3. pp. 22-24.
  • Polsky, R. Time-Out: An underemployed punishment training technique for puppies. Veterinary Practice Staff. 1991, Vol. 3, No.4. 8-10.
  • Polsky, R. Should food reward be used to train a dog? Veterinary Practice Staff. 1991, Vol. 3, No.5.
  • Polsky, R. Interviewing owners about pet behavioral problems. Veterinary Practice Staff. 1992, Vol. 4. No. 1. pp.17-19.
  • Polsky, R. Questions about dominance aggression in dogs. Veterinary Practice Staff, 1992, Vol. 4, No.3. 1, 7-9.
  • Polsky, R. How do you know if a dog’s aggressive behavior can be changed? Veterinary Practice Staff, 1993, Vol. 5, No.1. 15-19.
  • Polsky, R. The misbehavior of owners. Veterinary Practice Staff, 1993, Vol. 5, pp. 3-6.
  • Polsky, R. Diazepam induced defensive aggression in a cat. Feline Practice, 1993,Vol. 21, 21- 22.
  • Polsky, R. Does Thyroid Dysfunction Cause Behavioral Problems? Canine Practice, 1993, Vol. 18, 6-8.
  • Polsky, R. Helping Rover to Relax: A Complete Guide to Understanding Canine Stress, Anxiety and Emotions. 1993. HWE, Inc. North Hollywood, CA. pp. 1-19.
  • Polsky, R. Comments on buspirone for urine spraying in cats. Advances in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, 1994, Vol. 7, pp. 3-4.
  • Polsky, R. Electronic shock collars: Are they worth the risks? J. American Animal Hospital Association. 1994, Vol. 30, pp. 463-468.
  • Polsky, R. Ethology: A foundation for treating behavior problems. Veterinary Medicine, 1994, Vol. 89, pp. 192-195.
  • Polsky, R. The steps in solving behavior problems. Veterinary Medicine, 1994, Vol. 89, pp. 504-507.
  • Polsky, R. No-nonsense textbooks on dog and cat behavior. Veterinary Medicine, 1994, Vol. 89, pp. 941-943.
  • Polsky, R. Guidelines to follow when using drugs in behavioral therapy. Veterinary Medicine, 1995, Vol. 90, pp. 289-831.
  • Polsky, R. Methods used in behavior therapy. Veterinary Medicine. 1995. Vol. 90. pp. 524-527.
  • Polsky, R. Wolf hybrids: Are they suitable as pets? Veterinary Medicine. 1995. Vol. 90. pp. 1122-1124.
  • Polsky, R. Recognizing dominance aggression in dogs. Veterinary Medicine. 1996. Vol. 91. pp. 196 – 201.
  • Polsky, R. Medical treatment of dominance aggression in dogs. Veterinary Medicine. 1996. Vol. 91, pp. 416 – 419.
  • Polsky, R. Review of “Veterinarian’s Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior.” by Bonnie Beaver. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 1998, Vol. 58, pp. 205-207.
  • Polsky, R. Can aggression in dogs be elicited through the use of electronic pet containment systems? J. Applied Animal Welfare Science, 2000, 3(4), 345-357.
  • Polsky, R. Provocation as a defense in dog-bite cases. California Lawyer, February 1998. p. 28.
  • Polsky, R. Guidelines for behavioral discovery in dog-related injury cases. In D. Favre and Peter Borchelt, Eds.Animal Law & Dog Behavior. Lawyers & Judges Publishing Co. Tucson, AZ. 1998. pp. 333-340.
  • Polsky, R. Issues about animal behavior relevant to dog-bite statutes. In D. Favre and Peter Borchelt, Eds.Animal Law & Dog Behavior. Lawyers & Judges Publishing Co. Tucson, AZ. 1998. pp. 345-357.
  • Polsky, R.  Animal behavior analysis of liability in dog bite cases. National Trial Lawyers Magazine (Web edition). July 2014
  • Polsky, R. Excessive force and the dangerous nature of attack-trained police K-9s. The Forum Magazine. March/April 2019
  • Polsky, R. The inherently dangerous nature of attack-trained police K-9s. The Plaintiff Magazine. July 2018

Featured stories, interviews, television & radio 

  • May 1983. Television – Italian National Television
  • Sept. 1983.  Television – PM Magazine
  • July 1983.  Feature story – Los Angeles Daily News
  • April 1983.  Feature story – Los Angeles Times 
  • June 1983:  Interview –  KNX-FM Los Angeles
  • July 1983.  Feature story – Long Beach Press-Telegram.
  • July 1983. Feature story – Pasadena Star-News (July 10, 1983)
  • July 1983. Interview – KFWB News Radio, L.A. At Large with Cleeve Herman 
  • Feb.1984. Television – Two on the Town
  • May 1984. Feature story – Orange Coast Magazine. 
  • Dec. 1985. Feature story – Cats Magazine
  • March 1985. Interview – KABC Radio,  Michael Jackson Show. .
  • Oct.  1986. Television – Eye on L.A.
  • Oct. 1986. Feature story – Picture Week Magazine. 
  • May 1998. Feature story –  San Gabriel Valley Weekly.
  • Aug. 1990. Feature story – Santa Monica Evening Outlook
  • 2/15/01. Interview Sam Donaldson, ABC News.Topic: San Francisco Dog Mauling.
  • 6/28/05. Interview  KGO radio, San Francisco. Topic: Recent pit bull mauling in San Francisco.
  • 8/5/05. Interview Los Angeles Times – Topic: Fatal dog attack in Los Angeles.
  • 1/8/05. Interview.  Chicago Public Radio. Topic: Pit Bulls.
  • 2/1/05. Interview.  Desert News in Salt Lake. Topic: Cat Bites.
  • 6/2/06. Interview.  WJBC Radio, Bloomington, IN. Topic: Laws pertaining to dangerous dogs.
  • 7/14/06. Interview for proposed dog park in Camarillo, CA.
  • 10/5/06. Interview  Newstalk 1350 KSRO, Santa Rosa, CA. (CNN affiliate) Topic: Pit Bulls.
  • 12/1/06.  Interview  Santa Monica Daily Press, Santa Monica, CA. Topic: Depression in dogs over holidays.
  • 3/7/07. Interview Taunton Gazette, Taunton, MA. Topic: Propensities and myths about pit-bull type dogs.
  • 4/27/07. Interview The Arkansas Democratic Gazette.Topic: Attacks by put-bull- type dogs.
  • 5/29/07. Interview  BBC World New Service for radio program Culture Shock. Topic: Opinions on Rent-a-Dog business conducted by company, FlexPetz.
  • 6/8/07. Interview Chicago Tribune Topic: Temperament testing in dogs.
  • 8/3/07. Interview with Los Angeles Times: Topic dog bite fatality that occurred at the Los Angeles home of actor Ving Rhames.
  • 8/4/07. Interview CBS Saturday Morning Show: Topic: Fatal dog attacks.
  • 11/15/07.  Interview Press-Enterprise, Riverside, CA.Topic:  Pros and cons of dog parks.
  • 4/20/08. Interview with editor of Shape Magazine regarding safety for joggers. Topic: Hostile encounters with dogs.
  • 4/23/08. Interview with KFWB radio commentator Paul Lowe about human fatality caused by a grizzly bear at the commercial enterprise in California that trains exotic/non-domesticated animals for the entertainment industry.
  • 9/5/08.  Interview for the Herald Sun newspaper, Durham, NC. Reporter Dan Way. Topic: Tethering in dogs.
  • 9/8/08. Interview for the New Jersey Herald newspaper. Topic: Fatality inflicted by 3 yo husky dog on 6 day-old infant. Reporter:Tow Howe.
  • 9/18/09. Interview for story about dog mauling in St. Petersberg, FL.
  • 8/3/12.  Television Discovery Channel (Canada). Topic: Canine extra-sensory perception.
  • 2/1/15.   Interview  Detroit Free Press. Topic: Topic Fatal dog attack involving Cane Corsos in Metamora, MI.
  • 12/20/17. Interview People magazine. Topic: Fatal dog attack in Virginia.
  • 3/2/20. Interview on Chorus Radio 680, Winnipeg Canada. Topic: Pack of unsupervised American Bulldogs terrorize Winnipeg.
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