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I am sorry to hear about this situation.
Here is the law on dog bites in Michigan:Mich. Comp. Laws Ann., sec 287.351 Person bitten by dog; liability of owner.
Sec. 1. (1) If a dog bites a person, without provocation while the person is on public property, or lawfully on private property, including the property of the owner of the dog, the owner of the dog shall be liable for any damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.
(2) A person is lawfully on the private property of the owner of the dog within the meaning of this act if the person is on the owner's property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him or her by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or if the person is on the owner's property as an invitee or licensee of the person lawfully in possession of the property unless said person has gained lawful entry upon the premises for the purpose of an unlawful or criminal act.
In short, Michigan holds the owner of a dog liable for dog bites to a human being that were not provoked
, or the person that was bitten was a trespasser or engaged in criminal activity.
Someone in your situation would have to show that the salesperson knew, or should have known
not to reach out to a strange dog that they just met. Especially if the owner told them "do not pet the dog" or something to that effect. If so, then if the judge/jury feels that a reasonable person in his situation would not have done it, then the owner is not liable.
That is of course, if he even pursues such a claim.
(Finally, on a personal note - please do not blame your dog. He/she was only doing their "job" as they saw it and how they were bred for it. Visitors should know better than to simply start petting dogs they do not know.)
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