There was a stunning award to a dog bite victim in New Jersey recently. A jury in Morris County gave a Denville woman $850,000 after she was bit by a dog that she was watching for a neighbor. Nearly a million dollars couldn't possibly be warranted for a simple bite, right?

Wrong.

Here's why. The woman was bit in the face by her neighbor's German shepherd chow-chow mix so severely that it resulted in plastic surgery, a permanent scar on her chin, and back injuries. Worse, it came out that the pet owners failed to warn her about two prior attacks committed by this dog. I think that's what really sealed the deal.

It also brings up the question, once your dog has attacked someone, is it ever smart to keep that animal as a pet? In my opinion, you're asking for big trouble. Allowing the dog to bite and remain in the family immediately gives it alpha dog status and it will feel it can get away with anything. Especially if you have children in the house, it's a terrible idea. Even without a child present, you need to realize your neighbor's kids could be in jeopardy.

The key here is to hopefully never have a first bite happen, with proper socialization and training of the dog from the time it's a puppy. Too many people own dogs who shouldn't. If you find a dog bites anyway, especially unprovoked, my opinion is you're being irresponsible to your own family and neighbors by keeping it around.

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