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Tulsa Dog Owner To Be Ticketed, Could Be Liable For Attack On 2 Women

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Chad McLain's firm handles a lot of dog attack cases. He's a personal injury lawyer with the firm, Graves McLain. Chad McLain's firm handles a lot of dog attack cases. He's a personal injury lawyer with the firm, Graves McLain.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Two women are in the hospital after a vicious dog attack in north Tulsa Tuesday.

Beverly Wright, 43, is in fair condition, and 78-year-old Irene Parker is in serious condition.

The pit bull was shot to death by a man who heard their screams.

Jean Letcher with Tulsa Animal Welfare said they'll be issuing the dog owner citations for having an un-neutered dog within city limits and not registering the dog.

A Tulsa attorney says the owner could be held liable for the attack, as well. Oklahoma law states dog owners can be held financially responsible in a case like this. A "Beware of Dog" sign and a fence around the yard are good layers of protection, if a dog ever attacks, but they're not always enough.

Chad McLain's firm handles a lot of dog attack cases. He's a personal injury lawyer with the firm, Graves McLain.

"I think that people believe if you are attacked or bitten by a dog then, automatically, someone should be responsible for it, and that's not always true," McLain said.

3/19/2013 Related Story: 2 Tulsa Women Mauled By Pit Bull Still In Hospital

He said a case like this one involves strict liability.

Beverly Wright and Irene Parker are Jehovah's Witnesses and knocked at the north Tulsa home to share their faith. The owner answered and the dog barreled past her to attack. Under Oklahoma law, the owner could be held liable for damages if the victims were lawfully at the front door, and if the dog attacked without being provoked.

"It would generally be directed at the dog, specifically ... A knock at the door or something like that generally would not be provocation," McLain said.

McLain said keeping a dog in a fenced yard on a leash or chain, or inside the house would generally be considered careful.

"But then again, as we advance from someone walking on the street, then into your yard, onto your porch and then inside your house, those things become a little close in proximity," he said.

McLain said, at that point, you have to take greater safety measures, like keeping your dog secured in another part of the house when someone's at the door.

The dog owner in this case was renting the home. McLain said landlords could also be held responsible if they knew, or should have known, of a dog's violent tendencies and allowed it to stay on the property.

A dog attack is generally covered under home owner's insurance and some renter's insurance.

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