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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Dog Bite Lawsuit Awards

Summaries of Verdicts and Settlements resulting from dog bite litigation are listed below.  Animal behavior issues found in dog bite litigation are identified.  New content added on regular basis.

DateTypeLocationOutcomeAnimal behavior
Fact Pattern
2017CivilFloridaDefense verdictProvocation;
Friendly nature of Golden retrievers
Knocked down by Golden retriever on elderly lady. Defense argued that plaintiff provoked dog to jump.
2014CivilMassachusettsJury awards $100,000 to plaintiffTerritorial defense; ProvocationPlaintiff, an invitee, walks into apartment and shortly thereafter attacked by a pit bull. Defense argued prior teasing of dog by plaintiff prompted the pit bull to attack.
2018CivilArizonaAZ Supreme Court overturns $650,000 award to plaintiffInherently dangerous nature of attack-trained K-9sAward to plaintiff nullified based on theory that negligence against handler for dog bite by K-9 not valid since the handler released the dog with intent. (McDonald v. Klein, Pima Co).
2020CriminalCaliforniaDog owner sentenced to 3 yrs in prison after guilty plea to manslaughter chargesProper containment of dogNegligent care and control of dog in fatal dog attack in November 2019 in Fresno county.
2005CivilCaliforniaJury awards $13,120 to plaintiffProper containment of dogs; Foreseeability based on alleged dangerous nature of dogsPit bull and German Shepherd attacked plaintiff after escaping from defendant's property. Plaintiff sustained bites to her legs and hands, and post-traumatic stress. $47,000 in medicals, $130,000 future lost income. Punitive damages against defendants. Defense argued plaintiff exaggerating injuries and no evidence of prior dangerous nature of dogs.
2013CivilIllinois$1.1 million settlmentProper confinement; Dangerous propensities;
Foreseeability of attack;
Predatory aggression
120 lb. male Bull mastiff, escaped from chain-link enclosure and attacked 15-year-old boy riding a bicycle. The attack lasted 10 minutes. Victim was hospitalized for 1 week. He was bitten extensively over body and suffered psychological damages. Read more
2010CivilGeorgia$72 million Inclusive of compensatory and punitive damages awarded by jury, later reduced to $36 million by CourtInherent dangers of keeping in attack-trained dog in a residential neighborhood; Foreseeability that dog would escape and attack a child in the neighborhood
Eight-year-old girl playing basketball in front of her home attacked by 2 pit bulls; Left arm of victim partially amputated and right arm severely damaged. Read more
2019CivilCalifornia$247,000 verdictOwner control of the dogThe defendants dog charged a 47-year-old lady causing her to startle and fall. The plaintiff was walking her dog on the sidewalk abutting the front yard of the defendant. The plaintiff was not bitten or knocked-down. The defendant's dog never left the property.Read more
2011CivilWashington$2.2 million awarded to plaintiff apportioned between defendants. Appellate court affirmed verdict along with the full award in 2014. Washington state Supreme Court refused to hear the case.Responsibility animal control had to remove dangerous pit bull's from neighborhoodPlaintiff was sleeping at night when two pit bull's entered her bedroom, first attacking her two dogs, killing one, and then mauling plaintiff after she tried to stop the attack with a shotgun. Jury sent a message to animal control for their negligence with high award for plaintiff. Read more


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