Dangerous Dog: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
City of Richardson v. Responsible Dog Owners of Texas 794 S.W.2d 17 (Tex. 1990).

City's animal control ordinance banning the keeping of pit bulls was not preempted by state Penal Code provisions governing the keeping of vicious dogs.

Coballes v. Spokane County 274 P.3d 1102 (Wash.App. Div. 3)

In this case, the Washington Court of Appeals determined the appellant had a statutory right to appeal a county board’s dangerous dog declaration because the board had acted within its ordinary and usual duties. The availability of the right to appeal, however, foreclosed a statutory and constitutional writ of review/writ of certiorari.  Furthermore, given the court’s finding that a prior proceeding constituted an appeal as of right, the appellant’s dangerous dog declaration could only be appealed under a discretionary review. The court therefore granted the appellant leave to file a motion for discretionary review.

Cohen v. Kretzschmar 30 A.D.3d 555 ((N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept. 2006)

The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the owners established that their dog did not have a propensity to jump up on people, and that they were not negligent in the manner in which they handled the dog at the time of the alleged accident.  The judgment granting defendants' motion for summary judgment was affirmed.

Cole v. Hubanks 681 N.W.2d 147 (Wis. 2003)

Police officer was injured by homeowner's dog and sued for damages.  The Supreme Court held that public policy does not dictate extending the firefighter's rule to the police officer, and therefore, that the officer could sue for injuries received as a result of the bite.  Reversed and remanded.

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.

Colorado Dog Fanciers v. City and County of Denver 820 P.2d 644 (Colo. 1991) The plaintiffs, dog owners and related canine and humane associations (dog owners), filed a complaint in the Denver District Court against the defendant, City and County of Denver (city), seeking both a declaratory judgment on the constitutionality of the "Pit Bulls Prohibited" ordinance, Denver, Colo., Rev.Mun.Code § 8-55 (1989), and injunctive relief to prevent enforcement.  The dog owners in this case claim the ordinance is unconstitutional, violating their rights to procedural and substantive due process and equal protection, is unconstitutionally vague, and constitutes a taking of private property.
Com. v. Beam 923 A.2d 414 (Pa.Super., 2007)

In this Pennsylvania case, defendant appeals from convictions for licensing violations under the state's Dog Law and for violation of the Rabies Prevention and Control in Domestic Animals and Wildlife Act after a copier repair person was attacked by defendant's three German Shepherds. Because the Department of Health dog warden could not gain access to either question defendant about the dogs' vaccinations or quarantine the dogs, the victim had to receive a series of rabies shots. Based on the testimony of the dog warden that he finally saw vaccination certificates, and the fact the Commonwealth did not present any contrary evidence, the fines imposed under the Rabies Act were reversed. However, the court sustained the convictions for licensing violations under the Dog Law since defendant failed to show proof of licenses for 2005 (when the attack occurred).

Com. v. Hake Com. v. Hake, 738 A.2d 46 (1998)

Dog owner appealed conviction of harboring a dangerous dog that attacked a child in violation of the Dangerous Dog Statute. The Commonwealth Court held that the statute imposes strict liability for the dog’s first bite if a dog inflicts severe injury on a human being without provocation.

Com. v. Raban 31 A.3d 699 (Pa.Super., 2011)

Defendant was convicted of violating the dog law for failing to properly confine his dog after it escaped from his property and attacked another dog. On appeal, the Superior Court affirmed, holding that 1) scienter was not a necessary element of the violation because the statutory mandate to confine a dog was stated absolutely, and 2) a dog attack is not a de minimis infraction that would preclude a conviction.

Com. v. Seyler 929 A.2d 262 (Pa.Cmwlth., 2007)

This Pennsylvania case construes the term "owner" for purposes of the state's Dog and Rabies Laws. Gretta R. Seyler appeals from an order of the trial  court, which found her guilty of two counts each of violating Dog Law and guilty of two counts of violating Section 8 of the Rabies Prevention and Control in Domestic Animals and Wildlife Act after a pit bull jumped out of a window of her home and attacked a neighbor. First, the court found that there was no question that Seyler was caring for the dogs at the time the incident occurred or was permitting them to remain “on or about” the premises occupied by her.  Although Seyler argues that the record clearly indicates that the two dogs were owned by her adult sons, the court found that the argument is without much force, as no paperwork showing the sons' ownership of the dogs was introduced at the hearing. Further, the court observed that the plain and unambiguous intent of Sections 8 of the Rabies Act and 305 of the Dog Law is that dogs be vaccinated and confined at all times. Thus, if the person having the property interest in a dog does not perform that function, then the statutes clearly require one harboring or caring for the dog, here Seyler, to perform it. 

Commonwealth v. Austin 846 A.2d 798 (Pa. 2004)

Defendant appeals his conviction of harboring a dangerous dog.  The Court affirmed, holding that there was sufficient evidence supporting the conviction, and also holding that serious injuries are not a prerequisite for convicting a defendant for harboring a dangerous animal.

Commonwealth v. Kneller 999 A.2d 608 (Pa., 2010)

Kneller appealed from a conviction of criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after she gave an acquaintance a gun and asked him to shoot a dog. The Court affirmed the conviction, concluding that “The Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law” (ADMA) and the “Dog Law” are not ambiguous. In addition, the deadly weapon enhancement applies to an owner who is convicted of cruelty to animals and used a firearm to kill it.

Commonwealth v. Thorton Commonwaelth v. Thorton, 113 Mass 457 (1873)

The defendant was convicted of causing his dog to be bitten, mangled and cruelly tortured by another dog.  The defendant appealled and the Supreme Court affirmed.

County of Pasco v. Riehl 620 So.2d 229 (Fla.App. 2 Dist.,1993)

When owners of a "dangerous dog" attempted to enjoin such a classification, this court held the dangerous dog statute was unconstitutional.  Because dogs are subjects of property and ownership, the owner's deprivation of a dog entitles him to procedural due process.

Crisman v. Hallows 999 P.2d 1249 (Utah App.,2000)

Plaintiff dog owners appeal the trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of defendant Ted Hallows. Hallows. a Division of Wildlife Resources employee, shot the dogs after they got loose from plaintiffs' backyard. While the factual accounts of the shooting differed, Hallows asserted that he shot the dogs within the scope of his employment and was therefore protected under the Governmental Immunity Act. On appeal, the court first found that plaintiffs may maintain an action against Hallows for conduct outside the scope of his employment and this claim was not barred by their admitted failure to comply with the Immunity Act's notice of claim and statute of limitations requirements. Further, as to plaintiffs' claims that Hallows was not acting within his scope of employment when the shooting occurred, there was sufficient evidence to raise a genuine issue of material fact.

Custer v. Coward 667 S.E.2d 135 (Ga.App.,2008)

Plaintiffs appeal the trial court's granting of summary judgment in favor of defendants. The plaintiffs' 5-year-old child was bitten by the defendants' dog while the plaintiffs were visiting the defendants, who were also their neighbors. While jumping on the defendants' trampoline, the plaintiffs' child fell onto the defendants' dog who bit the child on the leg and would not let go for a few minutes.  The plaintiffs contended at trial that the defendants' knowledge that the dog had "Wobbler's Syndrome," a cranial neck instability that causes leg problems, somehow put the defendants on notice of the dog's vicious propensity. However, the court discarded plaintiffs' argument, finding that is no evidence that Butkus had bitten or attempted to bite anyone before the incident. Further, there was no reason for the defendants to believe that the dog's leg condition would make it more apt to attack humans.

Davis v. Animal Control–City of Evansville 948 N.E.2d 1161 (Ind., 2011)

Dog attack victim sued city and its animal control department, seeking damages for injuries he sustained from a dog attack in his neighborhood. The victim claimed that the city failed to enforce its animal control ordinance. The Supreme Court held that city and its animal control department had law enforcement immunity because the Tort Claims Act provided immunity to governmental entities for any loss due to failure to enforce a law.

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.

DeRobertis by DeRobertis v. Randazzo 462 A.2d 1260 (N.J. 1983)

The principal issue in this New Jersey case is the liability of a dog owner to an infant plaintiff bitten by the owner's dog. At trial the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs, and the Appellate Division, in an unreported opinion, affirmed. A factual issue existed at the trial, however, as to whether the infant plaintiff was lawfully on the property of the owner, but the trial court did not submit that question to the jury. The omission is important because the "dog-bite" statute, N.J.S.A. 4:19-16, imposes absolute liability on an owner whose dog bites someone who is "lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog." If the plaintiff was a trespasser, he was not lawfully on the property, and liability should not be determined under the statute but according to common-law principles.  It was necessary to find that the invitation to infant plaintiff to be on defendant's property extended to the area where the dog was chained.

DeVaul v. Carvigo Inc. 526 N.Y.S.2d 483 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept.,1988)

This New York case involved a dog bite victim who brought an action against the owner to recover for personal injuries. The Supreme Court, Nassau County entered judgment in favor of owner. On appeal with the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, the court held that the viciousness of German shepherd dogs was not appropriate subject of judicial notice. The court found that there is no authority for the proposition that judicial notice should be taken "as to the ferocity of any particular type of domestic animal."

Dias v. City and County of Denver 567 F.3d 1169 (C.A.10 (Colo.),2009)

The Tenth Circuit took up a challenge to Denver's breed-specific ban against pitbull dogs. The plaintiffs, former residents of Denver, contended the ban is unconstitutionally vague on its face and deprives them of substantive due process. The district court dismissed both claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) before plaintiffs presented evidence to support their claims. On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that the district court erred by prematurely dismissing the case at the 12(b)(6) stage. The Tenth Circuit agreed in part, finding that while the plaintiffs lack standing to seek prospective relief for either claim because they have not shown a credible threat of future prosecution, taking the factual allegations in the complaint as true the plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the pit bull ban is not rationally related to a legitimate government interest.

Diehl v. Cumberland Mut. Fire Ins. Co. 686 A.2d 785 (N.J.Super.A.D.,1997)

 In this New Jersey case, the plaintiff was bitten by a dog when walking around the back of pickup and $55,000 in damages were awarded.   The issue on appeal concerned the issue of which insurance policy, auto or homeowners, should cover this type of incident. The court adopted the nexus test; the auto insurance is liable if the injury arises out of the operation of a vehicle. The Court held :   “We are satisfied that automobile liability insurance should cover this injury caused by a dog bite to the face occurring while the dog was in the open rear deck of a pickup truck because it arose out of the use of the vehicle to transport the dog. Moreover, the bite incident was facilitated by the height and open design of the deck. In our view the act was a natural and foreseeable consequence of the use of the vehicle, and there was a substantial nexus between the dog bite and the use of the vehicle at the time the dog bit the plaintiff.”

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.

Downey v. Pierce County 267 P.3d 445 (Wash.App. Div. 2, 2011)

Dog owner sued county challenging county's dangerous animal declaration (DAD) proceedings.  The Court of Appeals held that charging a fee to obtain an initial evidentiary review of a DAD violated owner's due process rights because it impacted owner's property and financial interests and potentially subjected her to future criminal sanctions. The court also held that the lack of an adequate evidentiary standard regarding review of DADs violated due process because the ordinance required only that the reviewing auditor determine if there was sufficient evidence to support the DAD.

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.

DuBois v. Quilitzsch 21 A.3d 375 (R. I. 2011)

After a dog injured a city inspector during an inspection of a property, the inspector sued the homeowners. Inspector alleged strict liability, premises liability, and negligence. The Supreme Court entered summary judgment for the defendants on the premises-liability and negligence claims because the inspector failed to show that homeowners had knowledge of their dog's vicious propensities. These claims were subject to the common law one-bite rule (and not strict liability) because the injuries occurred within an enclosed area on the owner’s property.

Dutka v. Cassady 2012 WL 3641635 (Not Reported in A.3d) A rescue organization had adopted out a dog. The new owners were walking the dog unleashed when it attacked another dog. The plaintiff's filed a complaint of common law negligence and recklessness, which alleged that the rescue organization should have known and should have warned them of the dangerous tendencies of the specific dog but failed to do so. Connecticut law imposed strict liability on an owner or keeper of such an animal, and the statute had not been expanded to include the seller or transferor. The issue then was whether the court should expand the scope of such a negligence claim and create a duty of care owed by transferors or sellers of dogs with known and/or unknown propensities for aggression. The court found that there was no support for expanding liability in common law negligence when the organization in this case did not own, possess, harbor or control the dog. The court declines to impose a duty on the rescue agency to inform adoptive families.
Earl v. Piowaty 42 A.D.3d 865 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.) Plaintiffs' son was seriously injured when he was bitten in the face by a dog that belonged to defendant Susan Piowaty.  Plaintiffs brought action on behalf of their son against Piowaty and the animal shelter from which Piowaty had adopted the dog two weeks prior to the incident, alleging that they had constructive notice of the dog's vicious propensities because of a minor incident earlier that week.  However, this court agreed with the denial of plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment because there remains a triable issue as to the defendants' notice of the dog's vicious propensities at the time of the son's injury.
Edmonds v. Cailloux 2006 WL 398033 (Tex.App.-San Antonio) (Not Reported in S.W.3d)

An in-home caretaker of a sick, elderly woman sued the woman, her trust, and her son after the son’s dog knocked her down causing injury. The court of appeals remanded the case because it found a genuine issue as to whether the dog had dangerous propensities and whether the son knew of the dog’s dangerous propensities to justify strict liability. The court did, however, affirm the order of summary judgment as to the negligence claim, where the son was not the caretaker’s employer and thus did not owe her a duty to exercise reasonable care.

Edwards v. Shanley 666 F.3d 1289 (C.A.11 (Fla.))

Automobile driver fled scene of a traffic stop and sustained serious injuries when he was attacked by a police dog, which was allowed to continue for 5 - 7 minutes. Plaintiff brought § 1983 action, alleging that the use of the police dog constituted excessive force, and that the other officer failed to intervene and stop the attack, both of which violated plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights. The Court of Appeals held that the use of the police dog to help track and initially subdue the driver was constitutional, but permitting the dog to continue to attack the driver constituted excessive force.

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.

Engquist v. Loyas 803 N.W.2d 400 (Minn.,2011)

After a 9-year old child was bitten by defendant's dog while at a sleepover at defendant's house, the child's mother sued the dog’s owners on child's behalf. The jury found that the plaintiff provoked the dog and the court entered a judgment in favor of defendants. The appellate court reversed on the ground that the jury instruction given by the district court misstated the meaning of provocation under the statute, and remanded for a new trial. In the instant action, the Supreme Court affirms this decision. Specifically, the jury here could have found provocation without any consideration of the victim's knowledge of the danger, and this misstatement prejudiced the defendant.

Evans v. Craig 807 N.Y.S.2d 417 (2006)

A postal worker brought an action against dog owners to recover for injuries allegedly sustained when dog jumped on her while she was delivering mail to the owners' home. In affirming the denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment, the court found that there factual issues as to whether the owners were aware of the potential danger from the dog and whether they took reasonable measures to prevent the dog from jumping on the plaintiff.

Fandrey v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company 80 N.W.2d 345 (Wis. 2004)

Dog bite victim sued homeowners insurer.  Held:  courts may factor traditional public policy to bar a claim under the dog bite statute, and in this case, public policy precludes imposing liability on homeowners even though the dog bite statute appears to impose strict liability.

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.

Farrior v. Payton 562 P.2d 779 (Hawaii, 1977)

This Hawaii case involves a suit against owners of dog to recover for injuries sustained when the plaintiffs, in an attempt to avoid what was believed to be an imminent attack by dog, fell off a natural rock wall.  Defendants' property abutted this rock wall and defendants considered those people who used the rock wall "trespassers."  After defendant's motion for a directed verdict were granted, the plaintiffs appealed.  On appeal, the Supreme Court observed that, in an action against an owner or harborer of a dog for injury inflicted by such animal, defendant's scienter (i. e. actual or constructive knowledge) of the vicious or dangerous propensities of the dog is (except where removed by statute) an essential element of the cause of action and a necessary prerequisite to recovery.  The evidence in the record established the fact that the Payton family not only knew of their dog's propensity to run and bark at strangers utilizing the 'short-cut' via the human-made seawall and the natural rock wall, but also expected such activity from their German shepherd dog.  Indeed, it was predictable that Mrs. Farrior would become frightened and would retreat to a precarious position.

Felgemacher v. Rugg 814 N.Y.S.2d 452 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.,2006)

In this New York case, the plaintiff sued to recover damages for injuries he sustained when defendant's dog jumped onto his back and knocked him to the ground at defendant's service station. The court found that the lower court properly denied that part of defendant's motion for summary judgment for strict liability in harboring a vicious animal. Here, defendant failed to meet her initial burden on the motion with respect to strict liability because she failed to establish as a matter of law that the dog had no vicious propensities where she submitted the deposition testimony that the dog was chained at the place of business to prevent the dog from “jumping on cars. . .”

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.

Flint v. Holbrook 608 N.E.2d 809 (Ohio App. 2 Dist.,1992)

In this Ohio case, Lorraine Flint was bitten by a pit bull dog owned by Carl Holbrook (Flint was bitten and injured by Holbrook's dog in the alley between her residence and Holbrook's).  Flint then brought suit against Holbrook and Turner Patterson, as the titled owner of the premises where the dog was kept.  Patterson was essentially selling the property to Holbrook on land contract.  In this case, the court held it was evident that the land contract agreement effectively transferred the ownership and equitable title to the property to Holbrook.  Holbrook had exclusive possession and control of the premises upon which he kept his pit bull.  While Patterson maintained the bare legal title as security for his debt, he exercised no control over the property; no clause affording him possession or control of the property was included in the land contract agreement.

Folkers v. City of Waterloo, Iowa 582 F.Supp.2d 1141 (N.D.Iowa,2008)

Plaintiff brought civil rights action against the City of Waterloo, Iowa (City) alleging procedural and substantive due process violations after Animal Control Officers seized Plaintiff’s dog and detained the dog for one hundred days while an appeal was pending.   On Plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment, the United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division, found that the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause did not apply to Plaintiff’s claim, the Animal Control Officers were acting under color of state law, and that the one hundred day detention of Plaintiff’s dog was a meaningful interference with Plaintiff’s possessory interest in his dog.   The Court also found that Plaintiff’s right to procedural due process under the Fourteenth Amendment was satisfied by the post-deprivation hearing provided Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s claim that the decision to detain Plaintiff’s dog was unreasonable or arbitrary, implicated the “unreasonable seizure” provisions of the Fourth Amendment, rather than the substantive due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that even if the substantive due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment were otherwise applicable, Plaintiff would not have been entitled to relief under the substantive due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Francis v. City of Indianapolis 958 N.E.2d 816 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011, table, unpublished) A dog rescue organization was cited with a violation of the city code for having a dog at large. One rescue dog escaped and lunged at a neighbor. Francis argued that the trial court erred in applying strict liability, challenged the sufficiency of the evidence, and challenged the constitutionality of the municipal ordinance. The trial court also found that a violation of the ordinance also imposed restrictions on Francis; she could no longer operate the animal rescue shelter and could only own or keep two dogs. The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.
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.

Galgano v. Town of North Hempstead 41 A.D.3d 536 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., 2007)

In this New York Case, the plaintiffs appeal from an order of the Supreme Court, Nassau County which granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint for personal injuries and damages due to a dog bite. The court reaffirmed New York law that to recover in strict liability in tort for a dog bite or attack, the plaintiff must establish that the dog had vicious propensities and that the owner knew or should have known of the dog's propensities. The fact that the subject dog was brought to the animal shelter because another dog in the owner's household did not get along with it is not indicative that it had vicious propensities.

Gannon v. Conti 86 A.D.3d 704 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.,2011)

In 2008, defendants' dog allegedly left their yard by passing through an underground "invisible" electrical fence system and bit the plaintiff who was sitting on her bike on the adjacent property. Plaintiff filed suit seeking damages for injury based on common-law negligence and strict liability. The lower court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment based on the fact that they had no prior knowledge of the dog's alleged vicious propensities. On appeal, the court found that even defendants' own depositions raised an issue of fact as to notice of their dog's alleged vicious propensities. Specifically, one defendant admitted he used a "bite sleeve" obtained through his employment as a police officer to encourage the dog to bite and hold a perpetrator's arm. This evidence that the dog was encouraged to leap up and bite a human arm created a sufficient issue of fact for the jury despite defendants' claim that this was a "play activity" for the dog.

Giacalone v. Housing Authority of Town of Wallingford 998 A.2d 222 (Conn.App,2010)

In this Connecticut case, a tenant, who was bitten by a neighbor's dog, brought a common law negligence action against the landlord, the housing authority of the town of Wallingford. The tenant then appealed after the lower court granted the landlord's motion to strike the complaint. On appeal, this Court held that the tenant properly stated a claim under common law negligence against the landlord. Relying on Auster v. Norwalk United Methodist Church, 286 Conn. 152, 943 A.2d 391 (2008) , the court concluded that a common-law negligence action brought against a landlord in a dog bite case should not be striken simply because the landlord was the the owner or keeper of the dog.

Gibson v. Rezvanpour 601 S.E.2d 848 (Ga. 2004)

The prospective buyer of a home was bitten by the homeowner's dog.  The prospective buyer filed a claim against the homeowners, real estate agents, real estate brokers and the real estate agency.  The State Court entered summary judgment in favor of Defendants and the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.

Gonzales v. Kissner 24 So.3d 214 ((La.App. 1 Cir.,2009)

This Louisiana case concerns an action for personal injuries sustained by an animal control officer who was mauled about the head and neck by defendants' dog while investigating a complaint of an attack by the dog from the previous day. The dog's owners argued on appeal that the trial court failed to apply the Professional Rescuer's Doctrine, sometimes referred to as the “fireman's rule." Because under the facts here, where the dog had previously escaped after being confined in the house and the defendants failed to properly lock the house and/or restrain the dog, the court did not find that Ms. Gonzales' recovery for injuries was barred by the Professional Rescuer's Doctrine. The court held that based upon the record before this court, there was no error on the part of the trial court that warranted reversal of the plaintiff's motion for a partial summary judgment as to the liability of the dog's owners.

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.

HAGEN v. LAURSEN 263 P.2d 489 (Cal.App. 3 Dist. 1953)

Two Irish setters knocked down a neighbor while playing outside.   Previously no one had seen them run into anyone while playing.   They were not shown to have been more boisterous than dogs usually are.   There was no evidence that these dogs were vicious. The court found that there was no foreseeable risk of harm and therefore no duty upon which to base a claim of negligence.

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 . . ."

Pages