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Settlement ends rare dog bite case in Florida

It is always unfortunate and unexpected when man's best friend becomes an enemy. Domesticated dogs are often well trained, but there is still a wild animal within. Dog attacks are rare, but they can cause serious injury when they do.

One of the few instances in which a dog is trained to attack a person is when they are trained as law enforcement officers or assets. Training is even more rigorous for service animals such as seeing-eye dogs and police dogs, and the latter are generally exempt from any charges related to an attack to which they are a party.

A rare exception to this rule occurred recently in Florida, where two graffiti artists received a settlement in a suit against three Broward County sheriff's deputies after a dog under their control was provoked into attacking them. One of the artists reported that one of the deputies told the dog to "eat, boy, eat" during the attack.

The suit claimed that the deputies used excessive and unnecessary force because they were not trying to escape. The attack apparently continued after the pair surrendered to the law enforcement officers.

According to the victims and two witnesses, the artists raised their hands to indicate surrender and lay on the ground before the deputies "sicced" the dog on them. Photographs of the injuries show puncture wounds and bruising to the victims' torsos and arms.

Victims of animal attacks have the right to sue the owners of the animals for financial damages to cover medical expenses and compensation for pain and suffering. A Florida attorney may help victims evaluate injuries and their options for restitution.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Graffiti artists settle dog bite case against Broward deputies for $175,000," Paula McMahon, Dec. 26, 2017

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