Neighbors in dispute over dog bite - FOX 13 News

Neighbors in dispute over dog bite

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

If a dog bites someone on your property, is it your fault? A Lithia family says no, after their dog bit a 7-year-old child. The bite has sparked a disagreement between neighbors on exactly who is to blame and exactly where the bite happened.

"She's the sweetest, smartest dog I've ever known," said Cori Griffith.

It's been six days since "Beans" was home. It just doesn't seem the same to the Griffiths.

"I really want Beans home. I feel like I'm being treated like a criminal. I feel like we're guilty until proven innocent in this case, and we've done nothing wrong. Actually I feel we've done everything right," Griffith said.

The family left the dog on a leash with about 25 feet of slack while 13-year-old Max watched him. They say when tethered, it's impossible for their pets to leave their property, but two girls from the house across an adjacent field approached the dog.

"I told them not to touch her, she doesn't like to be touched," Max said.

To the Griffiths, any injury back here is considered someone else's responsibility.

"I feel like it's totally unfair. This is my dog, and she was protecting us in a way, and that's her job," Griffith said.

Many might agree, although most parents will be moved by the photo of the injury. The mother of the child who was bitten showed the picture of with a gash above her daughter's eye that she says required five stitches.

Even though she didn't see it happen, she says the dog bit her daughter not on personal property, but in a common green space just a few feet off the sidewalk.

Unfortunately, these types of conflicting stories often happen alongside dog bites.

"At Hillsborough County Animal Services, we are called to investigate, at a minimum, more than 2,000 dog bites a year. That's probably a conservative estimate," said Marty Ryan, with Hillsborough Animal Services.

At the top of the list of those most frequently bitten are children, then the elderly. When any one is bitten, the investigation puts the dog at animal control under quarantine for a minimum of 11 days.

"We will quarantine an animal if there is a severe injury bite," Ryan said.

Quarantine is where "Beans" will stay until the investigation closes when two conflicting stories are sorted out.

"The one who really needs to tell us what happened, and why, isn't talking. And that's the dog," Ryan said.

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