Dangerous Dog: Related Cases
|Mercado v. Ovalle||973 N.Y.S.2d 171 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept., 2013)||
In this New York case, plaintiff appealed the lower court's order granting defendants' motion for summary judgment in a dog bite case. Defendants, a grocery store and its owner, asserted that they did not own the two pit bulls that attacked plaintiff. The only evidence plaintiff presented showing defendants' ownership and control over the dogs were hearsay statements from the mechanic who operated the lot that the dogs guarded. The court found this evidence that defendants occasionally walked and fed the dogs insufficient to show that they "harbored" the dogs. Affirmed.
|Saulsbury v. Wilson||--- S.E.2d ----, 2019 WL 493695 (Ga. Ct. App. Feb. 8, 2019)||This Georgia involves an interlocutory appeal arising from a dog bite lawsuit. In 2016, Plaintiff Saulsbury was walking her English Bulldog past Defendant Wilson's house when Wilson's pitbull dog escaped its crate in the open garage. A fight ensued between the dogs. Wilson then attempted to break up the fight and was allegedly bitten by Saulsbury's dog, suffering a broken arm in the process and necessitating a course of rabies shots. The Saulsburys then sued the Wilsons in magistrate court to recover hospital and veterinary expenses. Wilson counterclaimed for her injuries in excess $15,000, thus transferring the case to superior court. At this time, the Saulsburys moved for summary judgment, which the trial court denied. The Court of Appeals here reverses that denial. The court found that Wilson assumed the risk when she intervened in a dog fight with her bare hands. In particular, the court observed that assumption of risk serves as a complete defense to negligence. That finding was bolstered by the fact that Wilson had knowledge that her dog had previously bitten other persons and had admitted to breaking up previous dog fights with a stick. The court relied on previous case law showing that all animals, even domesticated animals, pose a risk as does the act of breaking up even human fights. The court was not persuaded by the fact that Saulsbury may have been in violation of various DeKalb County ordinances related to an owner's responsibility to control his or her animal. A plain reading of those ordinances does not impose a duty on the part of an owner to "dangerously insert herself into a dog fight." The court found the lower court erred in denying the Saulsbury's motion for summary judgment and reversed and remanded the case.|
|Strickland v. Pinellas Cty.||--- So.3d ----, 2018 WL 6518761 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Dec. 12, 2018)||Andy G. Strickland appealed an order dismissing with prejudice his complaint for declaratory relief against Pinellas County. The request stems from letters he received from Animal Services of Pinellas County about his dog. Strickland and a neighbor were involved in a dispute after their dogs attacked each other. The neighbor filed a complaint with Animal Services claiming that Strickland's dog was the "aggressor dog" and then sent a letter to the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners. The County then sent two letters to Strickland, the first informing him that his dog had exhibited dangerous propensities, and the second, from an assistant county attorney, informing him of the possible criminal ramifications for keeping a dangerous dog or being an "Irresponsible Pet Owner" under the county code. As a result of these letters, Strickland filed a complaint in circuit court saying that he was not afforded any opportunity to dispute those claims and that he is entitled to have the threat of criminal prosecution removed. The County moved to dismiss Strickland's complaint arguing that he failed to allege a justiciable controversy and a bona fide dispute between the County and him. The County claimed that there were no legal findings made with respect to Strickland's dog and that the letters were possible ramifications and explanations of law. The trial court agreed and granted the County's motion, finding the letters were not accusatory and the case presented no justiciable issue. On appeal here, this court upheld the lower court's order because Strickland's allegations did not present a bona fide dispute. Both letters emphasized that his dog had not been classified as dangerous and that no action was being taken by the county. A speculative fear by Strickland that he may be subject to future consequences does not warrant declaratory relief and does not show imminent danger of prosecution. Thus, the trial court correctly dismissed Strickland's complaint. Affirmed.|
|People v. Berry||1 Cal. App. 4th 778 (1991)||
In a prosecution arising out of the killing of a two-year-old child by a pit bulldog owned by a neighbor of the victim, the owner was convicted of involuntary manslaughter (Pen. Code, § 192, subd. (b)), keeping a mischievous animal (Pen. Code, § 399), and keeping a fighting dog (Pen. Code, § 597.5, subd. (a)(1)). The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that an instruction that a minor under the age of five years is not required to take precautions, was proper. The court further held that the trial court erred in defining "mischievous" in the jury instruction, however, the erroneous definition was not prejudicial error under any standard of review. The court also held that the scope of defendant's duty owed toward the victim was not defined by Civ. Code, § 3342, the dog-bite statute; nothing in the statute suggests it creates a defense in a criminal action based on the victim's status as a trespasser and on the defendant's negligence.
|Collier v. Zambito||1 N.Y.3d 444 (N.Y. 2004)||
Infant child attacked and bit by dog when he was a guest in the owner's home. After defenses motion for summary judgment was denied, the Appellate Court reversed, and this court affirms.
|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.
|Faraci v. Urban||101 A.D.3d 1753 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.)||
In this New York case, the plaintiff sought damages for injuries his son sustained after the child was bitten by a dog in a house owned by defendant Urban, but occupied by Defendant Buil (the dog's owner). Defendant Urban appeals an order denying her motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. Defendant Urban failed to demonstrate as a matter of law that the dog did not have vicious tendencies because defendant's own submissions showed that the dog had previously growled at people coming to the door. However, summary judgment was appropriate here because the evidence failed to show that defendant knew or should have known of the dog's alleged vicious propensities.
|White v. Vermont Mutual Insurance Company||106 A.3d 1159 (N.H., 2014)||This is an appeal brought by Susan and Peter White to a declaratory judgment that her son, Charles Matthews, was not covered under Susan's homeowner's insurance policy with the respondent.The incident that led to this case involved Matthews' dog causing injury to Susan while at the home covered by the policy. The policy covered the insurer and residents of their home who are relatives, so Susan attempted to collect from Vermont Mutual for the damage done by the dog. However, her claim was denied because Matthews was deemed to not be a resident of the home. This court affirms.|
|Frank v. Animal Haven, Inc.||107 A.D.3d 574 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept.,2013.)||
Plaintiff was bitten by the dog that she adopted from Animal Haven, Inc. and sued that entity for personal injuries stemming from the bite. In affirming the decision to dismiss the complaint, this court noted that the adopting parties signed a contract a the time of adoption where they undertook a "lifetime commitment" for the responsible care of the dog. While the contract stipulated that Animal Haven had the right to have the dog returned if the plaintiff breached the contract, this did not reserve a right of ownership of the dog. Further, the contract also explicitly relieved Animal Haven of liability once the dog was in the possession of the adoptive parties.
|BREEDLOVE v. HARDY||110 S.E. 358 (Va. 1922)||
This Virginia case concerned the shooting of plaintiff's companion animal where defendant alleged that the dog was worrying his livestock. The court reversed judgment for defendant, finding that defendant’s act of killing dog while not engaged in the act of “worrying the livestock,” was not authorized within the statute.
|Batra v. Clark||110 S.W.3d 126 (Tex.App.-Houston [1 Dist.],2003)||
In this Texas case, the appellant-landlord appealed a verdict that found him negligent for injuries suffered by a child visiting a tenant's residence. The lower court found the tenant and landlord each 50% liable for the girl's injuries. The Court of Appeals, in an issue of first impression, if a landlord has actual knowledge of an animal's dangerous propensities and presence on the leased property, and has the ability to control the premises, he or she owes a duty of ordinary care to third parties who are injured by this animal. In the present facts, the court found that Bantra had no duty of care because there was no evidence showing that Batra either saw the dog and knew that it was a potentially vicious animal or identified the dog's bark as the bark of a potentially vicious animal. The judgment was reversed.
|Smith v. Kopynec||119 So.3d 835 (La.App. 1 Cir.,2013)||
The plaintiff appeals the lower court's dismissal of her claims against defendant-landowners and their insurers. The plaintiff was injured (for the second time) by the defendant-landowners' son's pitbull while walking past their home. While it was undisputed that the landowners did not own the dog, the issue was whether they had a duty to prevent the attack via "custodial liability." Here, the defendant-landowners asserted that they thought the son had gotten rid of the dog after it was confiscated and quarantined by animal control after it first attacked the plaintiff. Thus, this court found that defendant-landowners did not know of the dog's presence on their property and affirmed the trial court's order of summary judgment.
|Lesher v. Reed||12 F.3d 148 (8th Cir. 1994)||
Seizure of pet dog violated Fourth Amendment where police acted unreasonably in going to canine police officer's house to seize the dog after the dog bit a child.
|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.|
|Lawrence v. North Country Animal Control Center, Inc||126 A.D.3d 1078, 5 N.Y.S.3d 558 (N.Y. App. Div. 2015)||Plaintiffs adopted a basset hound from animal control despite the fact that the dog had been turned over by a prior owner to be euthanized. The basset hound, who attacked the plaintiffs on three different occasions without injury, attacked plaintiffs' other dog. When one plaintiff tried to separate the dogs, the basset hound attacked him. Defendant removed the basset hound from the home that same day and refused to return the dog to the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs commenced this action seeking to recover damages for injuries, asserting causes of action for, among other things, negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation, products liability and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On appeal from the New York Supreme Court decision, the appellate court found that under the circumstances, issues of fact exist as to whether plaintiffs reasonably relied on defendants' misrepresentation and whether plaintiffs could have discovered the dog’s dangerous nature with due diligence. The appellate court also found that the contract clause at issue did not preclude plaintiffs from recovering for negligence because it did not “advise the signor that the waiver extended to claims that might arise from the defendant's own negligence.” The appellate court did, however, find that plaintiffs did not satisfy the “rigorous ... and difficult to satisfy requirements for a viable cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress.” The court also found that sanctions were not warranted.|
|Mansour v. King County||128 P.3d 1241 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2006)||
King County Animal Control issued an order requiring that Mansour to remove his dog from King County or give her up to be euthanized. On appeal, Mansour argued that the Board hearing violated his due process rights. The court of appeals agreed, finding that in order for Mansour, or any other pet owner, to effectively present his case and rebut the evidence against him, due process requires that he be able to subpoena witnesses and records.
|Hamilton v. State||128 So.3d 872 (Fla.App. 4 Dist.)||
In this Florida case, the 82-year-old defendant was convicted of a third-degree felony animal cruelty violation (section 828.12(2)) and sentenced to three years' imprisonment. Defendant had his dog on leash and approached too close to a cat, whereupon the leashed dog began to attack the cat. In reversing the decision, the appellate court found that defendant's conduct did not rise to a criminal level, as it was "objectively unlikely" that a leashed dog walking with his owner would inflict such damage. Further, while the issue of sentencing was rendered moot by the reversal, the court found the consideration of a petition with approximately 3,000 signatures demanding the maximum sentence, "an affront to the very notion of due process of law . . ."
|Jackson v. Georgalos||133 A.D.3d 719 (N.Y. App. Div. 2015)||Plaintiff appealed an order granting defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. The personal injury action arises from an incident where defendants' dog, who was barking at the time, jumped on the screen door causing the door to open, whereupon the dog ran out of the house. When the plaintiff turned to get away from the dog, her ankle twisted, causing her to fall on the steps and become injured. To recover in New York on such an action, a plaintiff must prove that the dog had vicious propensities and that the owner of the dog, or a person in control of the premises where the dog was, knew or should have known of such propensities. The court held that plaintiff did not raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendant was aware of the dog's alleged propensity to run out of the house and chase after people. Defendants' motion summary judgment and dismissal was affirmed.|
|White v Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y||138 A.D.3d 1470 (N.Y. App. Div. 2016)||Plaintiff, Rosemary White brought action against the Defendant, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church seeking damages for injuries she sustained when she was bitten by a priests’ dog, at premises owned by the church. White brought the action claiming negligent supervision and retention of the priest who owned dog. The church moved to dismiss, and White moved for summary judgment. The New York Supreme Court, Erie County, granted the church's motion for dismissal, and denied White’s motion. White appealed and the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the church was not liable for negligent supervision or retention of the priest. The Appellate Division, reasoned that the Supreme Court, Erie County, properly granted the church’s motion to dismiss White’s complaint for failure to state a cause of action. The Court stated that to the extent White alleged a theory of negligent supervision and retention of the priest in her bill of particulars, the “purpose of the bill of particulars is to amplify the pleadings . . . , and [it] may not be used to supply allegations essential to a cause of action that was not pleaded in the complaint.” Therefore, the order from the Supreme Court was affirmed.|
|Davis v. Gaschler||14 Cal.Rptr.2d 679 (Cal.App.3.Dist.)||
In this California case, plaintiff noticed two women in the process of assisting an injured dog, which was owned by defendants, while driving down the road. Plaintiff, an experienced dog breeder and handler, assisted the women and was bitten by plaintiff's dog. The dog had not been vaccinated for rabies, and plaintiff was required to undergo antirabies treatment. Plaintiff sought appeal of the lower court's granting of summary judgment for the defendant. The Court of Appeal reversed. It held that defendants had the burden to establish that this was a case of primary assumption of the risk-where, by virtue of the nature of the activity and the parties' relationship to the activity, defendants owed no legal duty to plaintiff. The court held that the complaint alleged facts sufficient to impose a duty on the part of defendants, based on allegations that they owned and negligently controlled the dog that bit plaintiff.
|Priebe v. Nelson||140 P.3d 848 (Cal. 2006)||
A kennel worker who was bitten by a dog while the dog was in the care of the kennel sued the owner of the dog under a theory of strict liability under a statute and under the common law. The court found that the dog owner was not liable to the kennel worker because under the "veterinarian's rule," the kennel owner had assumed the risk of being bitten by the dog.
|ELLIS v. OLIPHANT||141 N.W. 415 (1913)||
Plaintiff's dog was killed by defendant after defendant set traps out on his farm to catch the dogs that had been injuring his sheep. There was no claim that plaintiff's dog was caught in the act of chasing or worrying sheep. There was testimony at trail that showed plaintiff's dog was a very valuable one, highly trained, and greatly efficient about the farm; some of the witnesses testifying that he was worth at least $200. The trial court instructed the jury that defendant had no right, under the circumstances shown, to trap and shoot the dog, and the case was submitted to the jury for it to find the value of the dog. This reviewing court found no error and affirmed the judgment for the value of the dog, which was above traditional market value.
|Tighe v. North Shore Animal League||142 A.D.3d 607, 36 N.Y.S.3d 500 (N.Y. App. Div. 2016)||In May 2012, Tighe adopted a dog from the North Shore Animal League after having been warned that the dog was possessive regarding food. After taking the dog home, Tighe noticed that the dog exhibited aggressive behavior, such as jumping at the backyard fence and growling at her when she attempted to feed the dog. In July of 2012, the dog bit Tighe’s hand when she tried to pick up a cookie off of the floor. As a result, Tighe spent three days in the hospital due to severe blood loss and swelling. Additionally, in September of 2012, the dog bit Tighe in the face causing severe injuries. After the incident in September, Tighe filed suit against the North Shore Animal League to recover damages for negligence, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court dismissed the claim of emotional distress but granted summary judgment in favor of Tighe with regard to the other claims of negligence. The North Shore Animal League appealed the lower court’s decision. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of New York overturned the lower court’s decision and granted summary judgment in favor of the North Shore Animal League on all claims. The court found that the North Shore Animal League was not a proximate cause to Tighe’s injuries for failing to adequately warn her about the dog’s aggreesive behavior because Tighe learned of the dog’s aggressive behavior three months prior to the incident that caused Tighe’s injuries. According to the court, once Tighe learned of the dog’s aggressive tendencies, she was in the best position to take “precautionary measures to prevent harm to herself.” So, even if the North Shore Animal League had failed to warn Tighe of the dog’s aggressive tendencies prior to the adoption, Tighe “independently” learned of the dog’s aggressive behavior prior to the incident which eliminated the North Shore Animal League as being a proximate cause of her injuries.|
|Savory v. Hensick||143 S.W.3d 712 (Mo. 2004)||
Contractor brought a premises liability action against homeowners after falling over their dog. Contractor was descending from a ladder while working on homeowners' premises and stepped on the dog at the base of the ladder. The trial court held in favor of the contractor because the homeowners' dog made the yard foreseeably dangerous and the appellate court affirmed.
|Drake v. Dean||15 Cal. App. 4th 915 (Cal.App.3.Dist. 1993)||
Plaintiff, engaged in religious solicitations, was knocked down by dog owner's pit bull on the defendant's driveway. She argued that the superior court should have instructed on negligence in addition to strict liability. The court agreed, finding that a negligence cause of action arises whenever there is insufficient control of a dog in a context in which it could be reasonably expected that injury could occur and injury did proximately result from the negligence. Thus, the court reversed the decision for defendant dog owners.
|Perkins v. Hattery||155 N.E.2d 73 (Ohio App. 1958)||
This Ohio case examined the propriety of a county dog warden killing a dog that had killed a sheep nine hours before such seizure. The Court of Appeals held that dog warden was not authorized to destroy or otherwise dispose of a duly licensed dog found and seized by such warden upon the premises of its owner following a complaint made to the warden by the owner of sheep that the dog had killed certain of his sheep approximately nine hours before such seizure.
|Salinas v. Martin||166 Cal.App.4th 404||
Construction worker brought negligence action against homeowner for injuries sustained by another contractor's pit-bull dog, after homeowner had given the contractor permission to allow the dog to run loose on homeowner's property. The Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California, held that a landlord does not generally owe a duty to protect third parties from injuries by his or her tenant's dangerous dog without actual knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities and ability to prevent or control the harm. However, a homeowner, who maintains possession of and control over the premises, and thus is not acting as a landlord, is not required to have actual knowledge of a dog's dangerous propensities to owe a duty of care to his or her invitees.
|Miller v. Dep't of Agric.||168 Conn. App. 255, 145 A.3d 393 (2016)||The Plaintiff, Kim Miller, argued “a severe deprivation” of her rights when the Superior Court dismissed her appeal to prevent her dogs from being euthanized. Miller owned two Rottweiler dogs that attacked the victim Cynthia Reed, causing injuries to Reed's head, the back of her neck, and her back. An animal control officer issued two disposal orders to euthanize Miller’s dogs. The Defendant, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, then affirmed the orders and Miller appealed. The Superior Court also dismissed the appeal, and Miller appealed further to the Appellate Court of Connecticut. Here, Miller argues, among other things, that her Sixth Amendment rights to confront witnesses were violated when witnesses were not available for cross-examination. Plaintiff Miller also claims that there were procedural violations in the initial hearing because of lack of written rules that applied to dog disposal orders and claimed error when the hearing officer acted acted arbitrarily and capriciously by “interject[ing] his opinion” while questioning a witness. The Appellate Court held that: (1) the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA) did not preclude the admission of statements from the victim and an eyewitness, even though the victim and witness did not testify at the hearing. The court reasoned that in administrative proceedings under the UAPA, evidence is not inadmissible solely because it constitutes hearsay, as long as the evidence is reliable and probative. Additionally, a party to an administrative proceeding under the UAPA is not required to call any particular witness. (2) A dog owner's appeal of disposal orders for a biting animal is not a criminal prosecution that invokes Sixth Amendment protections. The court reasoned that the issuance of a disposal order does not, by itself, trigger the imposition of a fine or prison term on the owner. Rather, by obviating the threat that dangerous animals pose to the public, the provision is remedial and civil in nature. The judgment of the trial court dismissing the plaintiff's appeal was affirmed.|
|Nava v. McMillan||176 Cal.Rptr. 473 (Cal.App.2.Dist.)||
In a personal injury action brought by a pedestrian who was hit by an automobile when she stepped into a street, the trial court dismissed the complaint against occupiers of land who maintained fenced dogs, which plaintiff alleged frightened her, causing her to step into the street. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The court held that the complaint failed to set forth facts giving rise to tortious liability on the part of the owners of fenced dogs, either on the theory of simple negligence or strict liability.
|Gorman v. Pierce County||176 Wash. App. 63, 307 P.3d 795 (2013) review denied, 179 Wash. 2d 1010, 316 P.3d 495 (2014)||
After leaving a sliding glass door open for her service dog and her neighbor's dog, the plaintiff in this case was mauled by two pit bulls. Plaintiff sued the dogs' owners under a strict liability statute and the county for negligently responding to prior complaints about the dogs. At trial, a jury not only found all defendants guilty, but also found the plaintiff contributorily negligent. Upon appeal, the court affirmed the judgment the lower court entered based on the jury verdict. Chief Judge Worswick concurred in part and dissented in part.
|Dog Federation of Wisconsin, Inc. v. City of South Milwaukee||178 Wis.2d 353, 504 N.W.2d 375 (Wis.App.,1993)||
This appeal is by the Dog Federation of Wisconsin and others who contest a City of South Milwaukee ordinance that imposes restrictions on the ownership and keeping of “pit bulls.” The Federation claims that the “pit bull” aspects of the ordinance are facially invalid because: the definition of “pit bull” is impermissibly vague; the ordinance is overbroad; and the ordinance violates their right to equal protection. The court found that reference to recognized breeds provides sufficient specifics to withstand a vagueness challenge. With regard to equal protection, the court held that the ordinance is founded on “substantial distinctions” between the breeds of dog covered by the ordinance and other breeds of dog. Moreover, the ordinance is “germane” to the underlying purpose of the ordinance to protect persons and animals from dangerous dogs. Finally, the ordinance applies equally to the affected class of persons owning or keeping pit bulls.
|Roos v. Loeser||183 P. 204 (Cal.App.1.Dist.,1919)||
This is an action for damages alleged to have been sustained by plaintiff by reason of the killing of her dog, of the variety known as Pomeranian, by an Airedale belonging to the defendant. In 1919, a California court determined damages to be limited to the veterinary expenses connected with the injury to the animal. In the opinion, the court lovingly discusses the value of the animal. Notwithstanding these words of praise for the small animal, the court decided that the value was limited to the fair market value and related expenses.
|Morawek v. City of Bonney Lake||184 Wash. App. 487, 337 P.3d 1097 (2014)||A woman filed a complaint with the Bonney Lake animal control authority after her neighbor’s dog killed her cat. The animal control officer served plaintiff with paperwork stating that his dog satisfied the definition of a dangerous dog under the Bonney Lake Municipal Code because the dog had killed a domestic animal without provocation while off his owner's property. Plaintiff appealed the designation to the police chief, the city hearing examiner, and the superior court; all of which affirmed the designation. The Washington Court of Appeals, however, held that the hearing examiner's finding that the owner's dog killed the neighbor's cat without provocation was not supported by substantial evidence, as required to uphold a dangerous dog designation, even though the “location” element of the dangerous dog designation was satisfied. The dangerous dog designation was therefore reversed.|
|Carter v. Ide||188 S.E.2d 275 (Ga.App. 1972)||
This Georgia case involves an action for injuries received by a boy after he was attacked by the defendant's dog. The lower court granted summary judgment to the defendant and the plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeals held that where there was no showing that the dog ever so much as growled at a human being before the attack, the owner of dog was not liable for injuries. Evidence that the dog previously chased a cat and had engaged in a fight with another dog was insufficient to show the owner's knowledge of the dog's vicious tendencies toward humans to create liability for the owner.
|Haggblom v. City of Dillingham||191 P.3d 991 (Alaska 2008)||This is an owner's appeal of the city order which ordered her dog be euthanized or banished from city limits because the dog bit a person without provocation. The order had been affirmed by the superior court and is now in front of the state Supreme Court. Haggblom argues that the ordinance is unconstitutional because it does not provide meaningful process, and is too vague because it does not explicitly offer the alternative of banishment from city limits. This court found that due process was satisfied and that the ordinance is constitutionally clear, and thus affirms the order.|
|Volosen v. State||192 S.W.3d 597(Tex.App.-Fort Worth, 2006)||
In this Texas case, the trial court found Appellant Mircea Volosen guilty of animal cruelty for killing a neighbor's dog. The sole issue on appeal is whether the State met its burden of presenting legally sufficient evidence that Volosen was "without legal authority" to kill the dog. By statute, a dog that "is attacking, is about to attack, or has recently attacked ... fowls may be killed by ... any person witnessing the attack." The court found that no rational trier of fact could have determined beyond a reasonable doubt that the dog was not attacking or had not recently attacked chickens in a pen in Volosen's yard; thus, the evidence is legally insufficient to establish that Volosen killed the dog "without legal authority" as required to sustain a conviction for animal cruelty. Judgment Reversed by Volosen v. State , 227 S.W.3d 77 (Tex.Crim.App., 2007).
|Parker v. Parker||195 P.3d 428 (Or.App.,2008)||
Plaintiff and his 12 year-old quarter horse were visiting defendant at defendant's property when defendant's dog rushed at the horse causing it to run into a steel fence. The horse suffered severe head trauma, which necessitated its later euthanization. Plaintiff filed suit for damages asserting liability under common law negligence and O.R.S. 609.140(1) - the statute that allows an owner to recover double damages where livestock is injured due to being injured, chased, or killed by another person's dog. The appellate court agreed with plaintiff that O.R.S. 609.140(1) creates an statutory cause of action independent from negligence. Further, the court found that plaintiff fell within the class of persons the statute aims to protect because the legislature did not intend to limit the statute's application to property owned by the livestock's owner.
|Richard v. Hoban||1970CarswellNB126||
The child plaintiff was attacked and bitten by a chained German Shepherd after she put her arm around the dog's neck to hug or play with it; she sustained scarring lacerations of her head, cheek and eyelid that required 5 days' hospitalization after plastic surgery. The trial judge earlier held that because the dog, had two months previously, bitten a young boy on the face and ear in an unprovoked attack, the owner had prior knowledge of the dog's propensity to bite children, yet he kept the dog regardless. The owner was thus strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter. The Court of Appeal reversed this holding, with two judges finding that the boy in the earlier attack had been injured accidentally by the dog's dew-claw, rather than being bitten, so that there was insufficient notice to the dog's owner of any vicious propensity; thus he was not strictly liable in scienter.
|Whelen v. Barlow||1975 CarswellAlta 242||
Plaintiff Whelen was drunken, threatening and disorderly in defendant Barlow's hotel bar, where he kept guard dogs for the purpose of preventing break-ins and keeping the peace. After the plaintiff and friends were asked to leave the premises and not return, he later returned, making threatening gestures and was bitten on the face and arm by one of the guard-dogs. The court held that the plaintiff was 2/3 contributorily liable for his injuries, since when he returned he was trespassing; the defendant was 1/3 contributorily liable since the court held that keeping volatile guard-dogs as bouncers was not reasonable.
|Morsillo v. Migliano||1985 CarswellOnt 786||
The child plaintiff Morsillo was attacked and bitten by a neighbour's pet German Shepherd, which tended to 'bark savagely' at local children, had bitten once before, and was kept in a secure fenced yard and only taken out on a leash and choke-chain. The boy was playing cops and robbers with the owner's son on the owner's front lawn, while the owner's teenaged daughter was taking the leashed dog to the garage, when it escaped and attacked. No provocation of the dog was proven so the owners were found strictly liable under the Dog Owner's Liability Act (which abrogates scienter in that province) and also liable in negligence, with no contributory negligence by the plaintiff; the provincial Ontario Health Insurance Plan was entitled to recover the costs of the plaintiff's care from the defendants.
|Bates (Guardian of) v. Horkoff||1991 CarswellAlta 229||
The child plaintiff was at her daycare under appropriate supervision while in the playground when she was bitten on the hand by a neighbouring German Shepherd. The dog squeezed through an unmended gap in the fence and bit the child while she was on the swings; daycare staff were not negligent in supervising the children. While the dog had no history of biting, it was excitable and barked aggressively towards strangers outside the yard; the fence was in poor repair, but the owner had not thought it necessary to use the secure dog run that existed on his property. he was found negligent for not better securing and supervising the dog.
|R. v. Baird||1994 CarswellNWT 58||
The defendant, George Baird, was charged on indictment that he caused bodily harm to Amelia Debogorski by criminal negligence stemming from his keeping of dangerous dogs. While the dogs self-evidently proved to be highly dangerous to the victim, there was little evidence of their prior dangerous intent simply because they ran at large. As a result, the court then found that there was reasonable doubt whether the danger was known and recognized by Mr. Baird prior to the attack. The court found that there insufficient proof to find that Baird acted with "wanton and reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.” The court also observed that while there may or may not have been civil negligence, this was not enough to sustain a conviction for criminal negligence.
|Bacon (Litigation Guardian of) v. Ryan||1995 CarswellSask 540||
The child plaintiff was bitten on the face by a pitbull owned by the defendants, requiring reconstructive surgery and two days hospitalization and causing permanent scarring. The dog had bitten the owner's young son two weeks earlier while he played near the dog's food dish'; they contemplated having the dog euthanized but decided against it. The plaintiff's mother had heard about the bite incident but brought her daughter of the same age as the owner's son to visit, placing her on the floor where the dog bit her shortly after. The judge held that the defendants knew of the dog's propensity to bite young children but kept it ''at their peril" (suggesting strict liability or scienter, which was not however mentioned); such fault was sufficient to make the owners 2/3 liable for the child's $12,000 plastic surgery costs, pain and mental anguish. The plaintiff's mother was held 1/ contributorily liable for letting her child visit and play on the floor near the dog, knowing of its propensity.
|Fisher v. Liptak||1996CarswellAlta33||
Two pet llamas owned by the plaintiff Fisher were attacked on two separate occasions by dogs, including by a dog owned by the defendant Liptak, causing the death of one llama and, two weeks later, injury to the second llama. After the first attack, Liptak's dog returned covered with saliva and blood, although it had no bleeding wounds; he suspected the dog had been in a fight or attack but did not investigate. His dog was later discovered injuring the second llama. The court ruled that Liptak's finding indications of the first attack put him on notice that the dog had a 'vicious or mischievous propensity to attack other animals,' sufficient to make him strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter, for the second llama's injuries, but not for the first, for which Liptak lacked the requisite knowledge. Similarly, Liptak was not liable in negligence in the first attack, since in that rural area all the local owners let their dogs run at large and Liptak had no prior reason to suspect his dog would attack; the judge did not discuss whether Liptak was liable in negligence for the second attack.
|Shelvey v. Bicknell||1996CarswellBC1131||
Both plaintiff (appellant) Shelvey and the defendant (respondent) dog owners were guests of an unnamed third party at that party's beach cabin, where the defendants left their Rottweiler unrestrained on the cabin's deck overnight. The friendly dog jumped over the deck railing to follow the plaintiff to the beach where she was walking; the large, energetic dog bumped her legs while playfully chasing a seagull, knocking her down and leaving her unconscious. The dog had previously knocked its owner and a child down at one time due to its large size and weight. A trial judge earlier found that the defendant owners were not liable to the plaintiff in negligence as the freak accident was not reasonably foreseeable; the Court of Appeal concurred, finding no negligence. Scienter was not argued or discussed at either level.
|Janota-Bzowska v. Lewis||1997CarswellBC1957||
The respondent Janota-Bzowska was an invited guest at the home of the appellant Lewises, where another guest (appellant Holtzman) had tied his Labrador dog outside; the dog lunged at the respondent, causing her to fall and break her finger. A trial court earlier found both dog-owner and home-owners liable to Janota-Bzowska under the doctrines of scienter (strict liabilty) and negligence. On appeal, the court held that there was insufficient evidence to establish that the dog had a propensity to lunge at people, or that the owner knew of such propensity, although the dog was known to chase deer. However, this was not sufficient to allow recovery under scienter. On the issue of negligence, the court also held that the dog's behaviour being 'unexpected and out of character' showed no suggestion of a risk for which the owner had failed to take reasonable precautions, so there was no negligence shown.
|State v. Dan||20 P.3d 829 (Or. 2001)||
This is an appeal of a circuit court decision in an aggravated animal abuse case. A defendant was convicted in circuit court of aggravated animal abuse and other charges. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the defendant's testimony that he loved his children more than the dog he shot was not evidence of his character, thus the evidence offered by the state in rebuttal (that the defendant assaulted his spouse) was not admissible and not harmless error by the trial court.
|Ivey v. Hamlin (Unpublished)||2002 WL 1254444 (Tenn.Ct.App.)(Not reproted in S.W.3rd)||
This is an action for damages for the deliberate killing of a dog by a Deputy Sheriff that was alleging terrorizing the neighborhood. In finding for defendant-officer, the court noted that the consensus among the courts is that a vicious dog is a public nuisance and that governments and their agents have broad power to protect the public from these animals. The court thus found the officer acted reasonably under the circumstances and had a qualified immunity defense.
|Allanson v. Toncich||2002 WL 1897936 (Austrailia)||
Appeal uphold the judgement against the dog owner for damages, but recalculates damages upward.
|Holcomb v. Colonial Associates, L.L.C.||2004 WL 1416659, 2004 WL 1416659 (N.C.) (Only Westlaw cite available)||
This North Carolina case involves the issue of whether a landlord can be held liable for negligence when his tenant's dogs injure a third party where a landlord has agreed by contract to remove "undesirable" dogs. Under the terms of the lease, the tenant, Olson, could keep one Rottweiler dog on the property. It was also stipulated that the landlord could require removal of any "undesirable" pets with 48-hour's notice. The dogs in the instant action attacked a contractor who was making an estimate on some of the rental homes, and, according to testimony, had committed two prior attacks. The court concluded that the Court of Appeals erred, in that the plaintiff was not required to show Colonial was an owner or keeper of the dogs in order to show Colonial was negligent; that requirement is limited only to strict liability actions. As a result, the court found Colonial failed to use ordinary care by failing to require the defendant Olson to restrain his Rottweiler dogs, or remove them from the premises when the defendant knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known, from the dogs' past conduct, that they were likely, if not restrained, to do an act from which a reasonable person could foresee. Of particular importance to the court, was the lease provision, which the court felt contractually obligated the landlord to retain control over defendant's dogs.