Any dog, no matter the breed, age, and even if raised with kindness and care, is capable of an unprecedented and unprovoked attack.
So if a pit bull that has no history of aggressive behavior one day attacks and bites someone without provocation, then we conclude that it must have happened because of how the owner had treated it ? And if the dog never did the attack, we conclude the owner is a good owner ? Not necessarily. Statistically, Pit Bulls are one of the most likely breeds of dogs to attack a human being, and they have a natural propensity to attack and bite hard. They were bred as a fighting dog, when society accepted that as a sport. One neighbor and long time Pit Bull owner told me that they were bred to fight lions and other animals in the Roman Colosseum !
However, the type or breed of a dog is not sufficient in Virginia to cause a jury to find for the injured dog attack victim. In a dog bite case, the injured plaintiff must still prove negligence. To prove this from an evidentiary standpoint, the injured victim will usually need an expert unless pre-trial investigation or discovery revealed that the dog had prior attacks on humans. There is no question that there are good dog owners that can train a Pit Bull to be well behaved and others who can cause an otherwise docile breed of canine to be vicious and dangerous. In tomorrow’s post I write about a friend’s use of a trainer to prove negligence in a pit bull dog attack case where there were no "prior bites" or other attacks.