An eight-year-old Boise boy continues to recover from a dog attack that left him with disfiguring facial injuries. The boy was said to be in good spirits not long after being released from the hospital, but he may face multiple surgeries to repair the damage from the July 31 mauling.
The attack happened at the boy’s father’s house when a dog was brought over by one of the father’s friends. The dog was in the home for only a few minutes before it went after the boy, reportedly for no reason. He was quickly rushed to the hospital but nevertheless lost part of his nose in the attack.
As of the last report, the dog had been taken in by a shelter, and whether a vicious dog case would be taken up by the city or the local humane society was still unknown.
The boy’s mother has spoken publicly about the need to hold the owners of dogs that have attacked people accountable, and we agree with her. Unfortunately, Idaho has no specific law on the books holding dog owners accountable when their animals cause harm.
Our courts usually apply the “one-bite rule,” which largely lets an owner off the hook after a first offense if the dog was not previously known to be dangerous. In those cases, a victim is left to pursue a negligence claim, which might be more difficult to prove.
A bill proposed in 2016 would have enhanced penalties against owners for their dogs’ attacks and reduced much of the leniency of the one-bite rule, but that didn’t become law.
We’d feel better if we could say this was the only recent dog attack we know of in the Boise area, but, unfortunately, that’s not true. In March, a six-year-old was severely injured in an attack by a Boise man’s dog. That owner knew the dog was aggressive and tried to hide the animal after the attack; he was later arrested on five felony counts related to the attack and held on $500,000 bond.
Humans aren’t the only victims. In June, a large unleashed dog mauled and killed a smaller pet at Quinn’s Pond. The owner of that dog was cited for “dog at large” (up to a $300 fine) and misdemeanor nuisance (up to $1,000 fine and six months in jail, although no jail time was expected in that case).
Quinn Park is not one of the areas in Boise where dogs are allowed to run off-leash, and that attack concerned many who worried that the offending animal could just as easily have attacked a small child in the popular area. (All dogs, even on a leash, were banned in the park a few weeks later, but that was due to dog waste contaminating the pond, not attacks.)
When you or someone close to you has been the victim of a dog attack, Craig Swapp & Associates can help. We have experience with dog bite law, and we offer every client a free consultation. Give us a call at 1-800-404-9000 or fill out the form at the bottom of this page to learn more.