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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Dog bite expert witness opinion & testimony

dog attack expert witnessBelow, I will present some examples in which my testimony was used as dog bite expert witness.  I provide these examples to help dog bite attorneys further understand why they might find it of value to retain the services of the dog bite expert witness.

  • In one case, the plaintiff testified that his neighbor’s dog attacked him in his backyard by jumping over a 6 foot wall into his yard and then jumping back into the yard from which it came. Dr. Polsky’s expert testimony was used to show that the dog could not have possibly jumped over the wall, but rather that the plaintiff extended his hand far enough into the airspace of his neighbor’s property, allowing the dog to bite his hand.
  • In another case, involving a canine police dog being handled by an officer from the Sheriff’s Department, the handler testified that his 90 pound German Shepherd crawled under a car and dragged the suspect, hiding under the car, out into the open. The suspect testified that he crawled out from under the car voluntarily and surrendered to police officers who had the car surrounded. Measurements were taken of the dog, and it became clear to Dr. Polsky that a dog of this size could not have dragged the suspect from beneath the car. Accordingly, this testimony was usedat trial to discredit the testimony given by the police dog handlers.
  • In another dog bite case, it was alleged that the defendant’s dog attacked the plaintiff, but a behavioral examination of the dog along with an examination of the bite wound on the plaintiff, allowed Dr. Polsky to testifyvin deposition that the dog did not have the temperament, or was it physically capable, of attacking the plaintiff in the manner described.
  • In another case, in which a non-suspect was attacked by a police K-9, Dr. Polsky’s review of the dog’s training records and subsequent testimony indicated that it would have been difficult for the handler to control the dog on a 30 foot leash given the circumstances present, after the handler deployed the dog in the field for suspect apprehension. more examples of attacks by police K-9 dogs can be found in the section of this website about police canines.

Conclusions

The above examples illustrate how dog bite expert opinion in testimony could be used in dog bite cases. I have also addressed the issue concerning the qualifications of the dog bite expert witness in other parts of this website.  The properly qualified dog bite expert witness uses his background and animal behavior science to testify about how the dog was capable of behaving, and why the dog behaved as it did, given the fact pattern under consideration. Reconstruction of the events via using expert witness testimony and opinion in animal behavior may help. If expert opinion from the animal behaviorist conflicts with the accounts given by the plaintiff, defendant, dog handler, or others, then the credibility of a witness may be questioned.

Websites that discuss expert witness testimony