Those who own or occupy property have a certain duty to keep their property reasonably maintained to prevent injury to others. Premises liability becomes an issue when a property owner fails to keep the property safe, thus leading to injury. Liability extends to owners who knew of a dangerous condition but did not take the necessary steps to remedy the situation in time to prevent an injury.
Pets or animals living on property can be considered a dangerous condition. Animal control officials in one Ohio city are looking into an incident in which a pit bull attacked a postal worker.
According to reports, the female postal worker was dropping off mail when the dog ran out of the house, bit her leg and ran back into the house. The postal employee went to a local hospital to treat the bite and is now on restricted duty at work until she fully heals. The owners could be cited for the attack. However, it was noted that animal control officials have not contacted the pit bull's owner yet.
As of now, the city places a "vicious" label on pit bulls regardless of their actions, which diverges from Ohio state law. Ironically, the incident occurred one day after the local city council talked about creating a separate category entirely for pit bulls in the city ordinance.
No matter the type of dog, a supervisor of customer service at the U.S. Postal Service says that the most dangerous animals are those that aren't restrained. Postal workers are unfamiliar to pets and even animals that are usually calm may feel threatened by their presence.
If a property owner knows that his or her pet has a propensity for violence, then an attack on a postal worker or visitor is certainly foreseeable. If a person is injured due to a property owner's failure to restrain a pet or warn visitors of the dangerous animal, then victims may be able to recover damages for their injuries.
Source: The Newark Advocate, "Animal control investigates pit bull bite," Jessie Balmert, Sept. 26, 2012