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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Value of a photograph at a dog bite trial?

Q. I am a 2nd year law student at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law. A number of my peers and I have been having a hypothetical discussion question and answerregarding a dog suspected of being responsible for the mauling of a child. The dog has died prior to trial. The question involves the relevance of a picture of the dog at trial. Is the relevance of the picture at trial solely that of aiding the victim in identifying the dog? As you are the internet expert on dog attacks, your opimion would be greatly appreciate.

Nicholas M. Cann, Student at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law.

A. A photograph of the dog involved in the incident is always a smart piece of discovery to enter into evidence. Certainly the photo can be used for identification purposes – although one needs to realize that many dogs look alike. Introduction of a photo of the dog cannot address issues about the dog’s temperament. Probably the main value of having a photo, aside from identification purposes, is to allow the jury to get a feel for what the dog looked like and this may help in their decision making processes. For example, if it was a large size dog then the jury could well understand how extensive injury to the victim happened.