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  • Writer's pictureLaw Office of Brehm Bell

Was a pet part of Santa’s Delivery? Know your responsibilities as an owner in Fluffy’s new home.

We in south Mississippi LOVE our pets. And rightfully so—they’re adorable, we like having them around, and they offer unconditional love. Many dogs have earned the Man’s Best Friend title by becoming part of our families. However, there are conditions that go along with that unconditional love. We as pet owners need to provide safeguards for our pets, especially our canine buddies. These safeguards are for our dog's protection as well as those who may be around our pets.

Here in the South, we encourage everyone to be responsible for their own actions. Likewise, you are responsible for the actions of your pooch. You might have grown up, like me, always hearing that if your dog bites someone, the “first bite is free”. That is not necessarily the case anymore. In fact, if your dog shows “Vicious Propensities”, which may mean they growl, snarl, nip, lunge or otherwise show aggressive behavior towards anyone, then you have been put on notice that your dog might bite someone, even if your dog has not ever bitten anyone in the past. If that is the case, you can be held responsible if someone is bitten. Many homeowners’ policies specifically exclude coverage for pets. That’s why if you own a pet, or are thinking of getting one, check with your insurance agent to make sure you are covered for any liability related to your pet.

How can you protect yourself and your pup? Always make sure your dog is well controlled, not off the leash around others and never has the opportunity to be aggressive with anyone. That way both you and your dog can maintain a long and wonderful life together.

If you’re holidays included a new furry addition to the family, please be sure to recognize that pets are a big commitment. They will be your responsibility and part of the family for many years ahead, so let’s make sure we are ready and willing to be good pet owners.

Have a wonderful New Year, everyone!


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