Dog Bite | Animal Behavior Expert Witness For Attorneys

Richard H. Polsky, PhD, CDBC
Los Angeles, California

“Bringing the science of animal behavior to attorneys”


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Curriculum vitae for dog bite expert witness – Richard Polsky, Ph.D.

 

RICHARD H. POLSKY, Ph.D., CDBCCalifornia dog bite expert witness
Animal Behavior Counseling Services, Inc.
2288 Manning Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90064-2002

Phone   (310) 474-3776
E-mail:  richardhpolsky@mac.com

Websites

www.dogexpert.com
www.sfdogmauling.com

Education

  • 1965-1970. B.Sc.  The Ohio State University, B.Sc. in Biopsychology
  • 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

Academic awards & honors

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 BehaviorCounseling 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

  •  Certified through the 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 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 Assignments

1993 – Present.  Retained by attorneys, housing authorities, municipalities, and dog owners on numerous occasions for consultation and testimony regarding animal behavior, with particular reference to police canines, temperament evaluations, evaluation of dangerous dogs, and dog or cat bite injury inflicted on people.  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.

Published articles in legal publications

  • 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.   Website of The National Trial Lawyers. July 2014

Featured stories in news media

       Early in his career, Dr. Polsky’s work as an applied animal behaviorist was the subject of feature stories in the news media. A partial list of stories that appeared are as follows:

       Television

  • Eye on L.A., October 1986.
  • Two on the Town, February 1984.
  • Italian National Television, May 1983.
  • PM Magazine, September 1983.

        Newspaper

  • San Gabriel Valley Weekly (Supplement to the Los Angeles Times – San Gabriel Valley Edition, May, 1998)
  • Santa Monica Evening Outlook (August 1990)
  • Pasadena Star-News (July 10, 1983)
  • Daily News (July 15, 1983)
  • Los Angeles Times (April 20, 1983)
  • Long Beach Press-Telegram (July 20, 1983)

       Magazine

  • Picture Week Magazine (October 1986)
  • Orange Coast Magazine (May 1984)
  • Cats Magazine (December 1985)

       Radio

  • KABC Radio, Live 60 minute interview on Michael Jackson Show (March, 1985)
  • KFWB News Radio, L.A. At Large with Cleeve Herman (July, 1983)
  • KNX-FM Los Angeles, Live 60 minute interview on show entitled ” Free Forum” (June, 1983)

Media consultations  (partial listing)

  • 2/15/01. Invited expert on live internet broadcast discussing San Francisco dog mauling case: Sam Donaldson commentator, ABC News.
  • 6/28/05. Interviewed live on KGO radio, San Francisco, about a recent pit bull mauling in San Francisco.
  • 8/5/05. Interviewed by Los Angeles Times about dog-bite fatality in Los Angeles.
  • 1/8/05. Interview with Alex Helmick of Chicago Public Radio. Subject: Pit Bulls.
  • 2/1/05. Interview with Amelia Nielson-Stowell of the Desert News in Salt Lake City, UT. Subject: Cat Bites.
  • 6/2/06. Radio interview with Beth Whisman and Steve Fast of WJBC Radio, Bloomington, IN. Subject: Laws pertaining to dangerous dogs.
  • 7/14/06. Interviewed for news story on proposed dog park in Camarillo, CA.
  • 10/5/06 Interviewed live on Newstalk 1350 KSRO, Santa Rosa, CA. (CNN affiliate) Subject: Pit Bulls.
  • 12/1/06.Interviewed for news story appearing in Santa Monica Daily Press, Santa Monica, CA. Subject: Depression in dogs over holidays.
  • 3/7/07.   Interviewed for news story appearing in Taunton Gazette, Taunton, MA. Reporter: Rory Schuler. Subject: Propensities and myths about pit-bull type dogs.
  • 4/27/07.   Interviewed for news story appearing in The Arkansas Democratic Gazette – a statewide circulated newspaper in Arkansas. Reporter: Richard Massey Subject: Attacks by put-bull- type dogs.
  • 5/29/07.   Interview with reporter Dennis Nishi representing BBC World New Service for radio program Culture Shock. Subject: Opinions on Rent-a-Dog business conducted by company named FlexPetz.
  • 6/8/07. Interview with reporter from Chicago Tribune for possible news story. Subject: Temperament testing in dogs and how these test can be used to warrant euthanasia in dogs.
  • 8/3/07. Interview with reporter from Los Angeles Times for story regarding dog fatality that occurred at the Los Angeles home of actor Ving Rhames.
  • 8/4/07.   Interviewed for live appearance on CBS Saturday Morning Show: Topic – Fatal dog attacks.
  • 11/15/07.  Interview for a story about pros and cons of dog parks, by Scott Horseman. Press-Enterprise, Riverside, CA.
  • 4/20/08. Interview with editor of Shape Magazine regarding safety for joggers during potential 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.  Animal behavior expert  for Discovery Channel (Canada) about canine extra-sensory perception.
  • 2/1/15.   Interview with L.L. Brasier of Detroit Free Press. Topic: Fatal dog attack about July 2014 incident involving Cane Corsos in Metamora, MI.
  • 12/20/17. Interview with People magazine. Topic: Fatal dog attack in Virginia on a 22-year-old  lady by two pit bulls owned by the victim. 
    (Updated – April  2018)