On July 25, 2008, Addison Sonney, a one-year-old girl from Erie, Pennsylvania, was killed by her family’s English Sheepdog mix. The toddler was with her parents at a cemetery, where her father worked. The reason for the attack is unknown. The girl’s mother was hospitalized for injuries sustained as she tried to protect her daughter from the dog. (Click here to read the article.)
Pennsylvania is a strict liability state. The state’s civil dog bite law is the result of the interaction of criminal statutes and case law. Victims are treated differently, based on a number of factors such as the nature and extent of the injury. (For details, see Pennsylvania on Dog Bite Law.)
This complexity is unnecessary and confusing. The state should enact a strict liability statute such as the Model Dog Bite Statute.