We have had many cases where, during the process of investigation and discovery, we learned that the dog who bit our client had also victimized others.
We learn this information by reading police reports, animal control reports, by taking depositions and by demanding production of documents.
Even if the dog has bitten its’ owner, that counts as a prior bite. That history of behavior then triggers the owner’s duty to remove danger under Civil Code Section 3342.5.
In fact, Section 3342.5, subsection B, says “…Whenever a dog has bitten a human being on at least two separate occasions, any person, the district attorney, or city attorney, may bring an action in the municipal court against the owner of the animal to determine whether conditions of the treatment or confinement of the dog, or other circumstances existing at the time of the bite, have been changed so as to remove the danger to other persons presented by such animal.”
Dogs who bite multiple times may be quarantined and euthanized.
Another source of discovery is that if the dog had bitten on one or more prior occasions, there may have been a tape recorded hearing to decide the plight of the defending dog. The recordings of those hearings can yield very valuable evidence.
Many dog owners attempt to deny that their dog has ever bitten in the past.