Who is Responsible When a Pet Owner is Injured Attempting to Rescue a Pet?


A person takes the risk that he or she might be seriously injured when attempting to rescue a pet from an attack by another animal.  Many pet owners will not think twice before attempting to save their pet from an attack by another dog despite the risk of personal harm.  The owner of the aggressive dog might blame the other dog owner for his own injuries when breaking up a dog fight or defending a dog from an attack.  While a defendant may attempt to blame the injured person for contributing to his own injuries, the emergency situation doctrine helps an injured person overcome this defense. 

In Texas, the “Emergency Doctrine” holds that if a person is confronted by an emergency arising suddenly and unexpectedly, which was not proximately caused by any negligence on his part and which, to a reasonable person, requires immediate action without time for deliberation, his conduct in such an emergency is not negligence or failure to use ordinary care if, after such emergency arises, he acts as a person of ordinary prudence would have acted under the same or similar circumstances.  In other words, we consider what a reasonable person would have done in that same situation without time to think through all the consequences of his actions.  It is easy to look back after the incident and say that a dog owner should not have intervened, but the law considers what a reasonable person would do when confronted with the real-life situation without time to ponder all the consequences of trying to save his pet.

Under the “emergency doctrine,” an injured dog owner might still be found partly responsible for his own injuries, but that does not mean that the owner of the aggressive dog does not also share responsibility for the injured person’s damages.  If you have been injured by a dog, contact a dog lawyer to learn about your rights with regard to compensation. 


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