Dog bites are the bread and butter of thousands of lawyers. One of the greatest secrets of the personal injury lawyers, however, is that a large portion of the bite business comes not from big dogs but little lap dogs. The secret is now out. New York health officials have released the 2010 data showing that the Chihuahua and Shih Tzu are two of the top five menacing breeds in the city.
The “one free bite rule” is a commonly misunderstood torts doctrine — suggesting that you are not subject to strict liability until after the first time your dog bites someone. In fact, you are subject to strict liability whenever you know or have reason to know of the vicious propensity of your animal. That can be satisfied by conduct such as frequent snapping or aggressive behavior. Indeed, that was the evidence used in the famous case from San Francisco involving lawyers and dog owners Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel. They were found both criminally and civilly liable after their two Presa Canario dogs killed apartment neighbor Diane Whipple. Various neighbors complained about the dogs, which the couple inherited from a convict. Paul “Cornfed” Schneider is a reputed member of the Aryan Brotherhood and was planning a guard-dog business to be called “Dog-O-War.” Three days after Whipple’s death, the couple adopted Schneider as their son. The dogs had not bitten anyone but were known to be aggressive.
Those were large dogs, however. New York confirmed that Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus were surprisingly among the top five culprits. The leader of dog bites remained the pit bull, which many towns have outlawed. The pit bulls are followed by Rottweilers. However, the next two are the Shih Tzu and Chihauhua — followed by the standard poodle.
Dr. E’Lise Christensen of NYC Veterinary Specialists blames the figures in part on the “poor little rich dog effect” — owners who take their little dogs everywhere from the mall to restaurants. Dog owners Joy Oriol addes that these dogs tend to have a “Napoleon complex.” However, it appears when your Shih Tzu has a Napoleon complex she generally mauls the French waiter rather than invades Russia.
Source: New York Post found on Reddit