Dogs: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Wyno v. Lowndes County 824 S.E.2d 297 (Ga., 2019), reconsideration denied (Mar. 13, 2019) Misty Wyno was attacked and killed by a neighbor’s dog. Her husband, Jason Wyno brought a wrongful death action against the dog’s owners, Lowndes County, and four individual Lowndes County Animal Control employees. Jason alleged that Lowndes County and the County Employees negligently failed to perform ministerial duties, negligently failed to provide police protection, negligently created and failed to abate a nuisance, were negligent in their control of allegedly dangerous dogs, and were negligent per se by violating several provisions of the Lowndes County Animal Control Ordinance. Jason also alleged that the County Employees acted with actual malice and/or an intent to injure by repeatedly refusing to investigate or take any action with regards to the dangerous dogs. Lowndes County asserted sovereign immunity as a defense for both itself and its employees. In addition, Lowndes County and the County Employees asserted that they were immune from liability due to the provisions of the Dangerous Dog Control Law in effect at the time. The trial court dismissed the suit against the employees in their individual capacities finding that the Dangerous Dog Control Law barred an action against any party except the dog’s owners. The Supreme Court of Georgia ultimately held that the record was devoid of any evidence that any of the County Employees acted with malice or the intent to harm Jason or Misty Wyno to defeat official immunity. Jason, therefore, did not satisfy his burden and the Court affirmed the trial court’s decision.
Wyno v. Lowndes County 331 Ga. App. 541, 771 S.E.2d 207 (2015), cert. denied (June 15, 2015) Victim was attacked and killed by her neighbor's dog. Victim's husband, acting individually and as administrator of his wife's estate, brought action against dog owners and several government defendants, whom he alleged failed to respond to earlier complaints about the dog. The trial court dismissed the action against the government for failure to state a claim, concluding that sovereign and official immunity or, alternatively, the Responsible Dog Ownership Law (OCGA § 4–8–30), barred action against the government defendants. Husband appealed. The appeals court held the trial court did not err in dismissing the action against the county and its employees in their official capacities. The former version of OCGA § 4–8–30, effective at the time of the attack, provided immunity to local governments and their employees from liability for all injuries inflicted by dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs. The appeals court held that the trial court erred in dismissing the action against the employees in their individual capacities based on official immunity, however. By applying the former OCGA § 4–8–30 (2012) to dismiss the action against the employees in their individual capacities, the trial court implicitly rejected the husband’s constitutional challenge to the statute. Judgment was therefore affirmed in part and reversed in part, and remanded to the trial court to enter a ruling specifically and directly passing on the husband’s constitutional challenge.
Xu v. Chen 2008 CarswellBC 1693

The Claimant's six-month old sheltie puppy, "Diamond,” suffered a serious limb injury outside the front yard of the family home. Claimant seeks to recover the veterinarian costs she incurred to treat the dog's injury against Defendants, the owners of the other dog that allegedly attacked claimant’s dog. The court found that there was evidence that Defendant was previously contacted by Animal Control as well as a neighbor about an incident where Angus lunged at another dog. The Claimant has established, on a balance of probabilities, that Angus had manifested a propensity to cause the type of harm occasioned that night. Claimant was 25% liable for the incident where she left Diamond in an unfenced yard that gave other dogs access. The court denied Xu’s claim of $5500 for future medical costs for the care of Diamond because there was no evidence what these would be and the dog was currently living with another family.

Young's Bus Lines v. Redmon 43 S.W.2d 266 (Tex. 1931)

Appellee blind newspaper vendor had a trained seeing eye dog that was run over and killed by a public bus, driven by appellant. The court held that the measure of damages was the market value of the dog at the time and place where it was killed. If the dog had no market value, then the intrinsic or actual value to appellee was the measure of damages.

Youngstown v. Traylor 123 Ohio St.3d 132, 914 N.E.2d 1026 (Ohio,2009) Defendant was charged with two misdemeanors after his unrestrained Italian Mastiff/Cane Corso dogs attacked a wire fox terrier and its owner.   Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him, arguing that YCO 505.19(b) is unconstitutional and a violation of his procedural due process rights.   The Supreme Court of Ohio held that the Youngstown municipal ordinance was constitutional because it was “rationally related to the city's legitimate interest in protecting citizens from vicious dogs,” provided “the dog owner with a meaningful opportunity to be heard on the dog's classification,” and did not “label dogs as dangerous or vicious” solely based on their breed type.
Yuzon v. Collins 10 Cal.Rptr.3d 18 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.,2004)

In this California case, a dog bite victim sued a landlord, alleging premises liability in landlord's failure to guard or warn against tenants' dangerous dog.  On appeal from an order of summary judgment in favor of the landlords, the Court of Appeal held that the landlord owed no duty of care, as he had no actual knowledge of dog's dangerous propensities and an expert witness's declaration that the landlord should have known of the dog's vicious propensities was insufficient to warrant reconsideration of summary judgment ruling.  The landlord's knowledge that tenants may have a dog because it is allowed through a provision in the lease is insufficient to impute liability where the landlord has no knowledge of any previous attacks or incidents.

Zageris v. Whitehall 594 N.E.2d 129 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.,1991)

The single-family residence property owner and owner of dogs kept on property filed suit for declaratory judgment, petition for habeas corpus, and civil rights claims against city based on city's enforcement of ordinance prohibiting number of dogs on property.  He then appealed the ruling in favor for the city.  The Ohio Court of Appeals held that the local ordinance limiting number of dogs on single family property was a nuisance and not zoning measure and consequently a valid exercise of city's police power.

Zeid v. Pearce 953 S.W.2d 368 (Tex.App.-El Paso, 1997)

Richard and Susan Zeid appeal from the trial court's order dismissing their lawsuit against Dr. William Pearce, d/b/a Coronado Animal Clinic, for veterinary malpractice after the dog suffered from allergic reactions resulting from alleged negligent vaccinations.  The court observed that, in Texas, the recovery for the death of a dog is the dog's market value, if any, or some special or pecuniary value to the owner that may be ascertained by reference to the dog's usefulness or services.  Consequently, the court found this longstanding Texas rule to be inconsistent with the Zeids' claim for pain and suffering and mental anguish.  Because the Zeids did not plead for damages for the loss of their dog that are recoverable in Texas, the trial court did not err in sustaining Dr. Pearce's special exception and dismissing their cause of action.

Zelenka v. Pratte 912 N.W.2d 723 (Neb. 2018) Pratte and Zelenka were in a relationship up until their separation in 2015. Zelenka moved out of the residence that they had shared, however, he was unable to retrieve several items of personal property one of which was a French bulldog named Pavlov. Zelenka filed a complaint against Pratte alleging conversion. Zelenka contended that Pavlov was given to him as a birthday gift from Pratte. The district court ordered Pratte to return Pavlov to Zelenka and the rest of the personal property to remain with Pratte. Pratte appealed and Zelenka cross-appealed. The Supreme Court of Nebraska found that although the parties styled their complaint as one for conversion, the parties tried the action as one for replevin and treated the case in all respects as if replevin had been raised in the pleadings, therefore, the Court treated the action as one in which replevin had been raised in the pleadings. The Court ultimately found the following: Zelenka met his burden of proving that Pavlov was a gift from Pratte; Pratte failed to meet his burden of proving that the Niche leather couch, Niche lamps, and French bulldog lamp were gifts from Zelenka; and that those three items should be returned to Zelenka. As for the other items of personal property, the Court found that there was no basis to set aside the district court’s finding that Zelenka failed to meet his burden of proving ownership. The Court affirmed in part, and reversed and remanded in part.
Zelman v. Cosentino 22 A.D.3d 486 (N.Y. 2005)

A repairman was knocked over by a dog while working on a telephone line in the neighbor's yard.  The repairman brought claims against the dog's owner under under theories of strict liability and negligence.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the dog's owner and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Zimmerman v. Wolff 622 F.Supp.2d 240 (E.D. Pa. 2008) Plaintiff initiated this action against defendant in his official capacity as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, asking the Court to enjoin defendant from seizing plaintiff's dogs and from preventing him from operating his dog kennel under his federal license. Plaintiff simultaneously filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. The State moved for dismissal due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Since the Animal Welfare Act did not create a private cause of action, the district court dismissed the claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff’s constitutional claims were also dismissed because the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over constitutional claims brought against state actors directly. Plaintiff’s motions were therefore denied and defendant’s motion was granted. The court went on to address whether it would be appropriate to grant plaintiff leave to amend his complaint to bring the Commerce and Supremacy clause claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and found that it would be futile for both.
Zuniga v. San Mateo Dept. of Health Services (Peninsula Humane Soc.) 267 Cal.Rptr. 755 (1990)

In this California case, the owner of a dog that had been seized pending criminal dogfighting charges sought a writ of mandate challenging a county hearing officer's decision finding that puppies born to the dog while she was impounded were dangerous animals. The trial court denied the writ. The Court of Appeal reversed and held that there was insufficient evidence that the puppies were “dangerous animals." The evidence received by the hearing officer relates mainly to appellant's actions and his mistreatment of the parent animal, and the only evidence relevant to the puppies' “inherent nature” was the observed aggressive behavior toward each other while caged together and certain possible assumptions about their nature from the condition and use of their mother.

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