Typically, a PI is asked to investigate a dog-bite case through an attorney. Such investigations might involve:
- Interviews with neighbors and other witnesses. This helps to establish the dog’s vicious temperment/propensities because in these kind of cases, the investigator is gathering proof that the owner had knowledge of the dog’s dangerous habits and traits. Also, such interviews help to establish if the dog owner has made changes to the yard or other confinement system (including warning signs) that indicate the dog has exhibited menacing tendencies.
- Speaking to local animal control officers. This determines if the dog’s owner has been previously cited for vicious-dog or dog-at-large violations.
- Taking photos of dog at the animal shelter (typically, dogs in dog-bite cases are seized and immediately transported to a local humane society/shelter where the dog is kept in isolation and examined by a vet). Taking photos of the dog produces effective evidence for a jury as to the size of the animal, its strength and any unusual behaviors.
- Taking photos where the dog-bite/attack took place. Most state laws on dog bites exempt dogs acting to protect their owners’ property. So if the bite/attack took place in the street in front of the owner’s house, such photographs would be conclusive evidence to rebut a claim of property protection. The sooner a PI gets to the scene of the attack, the better (blood speaks loudly to a jury).
Another perspective on dog-bite cases is posted this week at Shaun Kaufman Law: “Dog Owners, Dog Bites, Jack Nicholson, and Aretha Franklin.”