Dangerous Dog: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Hamlin v. Sullivan 93 A.D.3d 1013 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.)

Plaintiff was walking her dog in an area of state where dogs go off-leash. Plaintiff and defendant were back in the parking lot talking when defendant's dog, who was still off-leash, ran into her, causing her to fall and sustain injuries. The appellate court found that plaintiff's evidence was insufficient to meet the burden establishing that the dog had a proclivity to run into people and knock them over. While testimony showed that the dog (Quinn) routinely ran up to people and put his paws on their chest to "greet" them, this was different than a propensity to knock people down. The court found that the behavior of jumping on people "was not the behavior that resulted in plaintiff's injury, and plaintiff failed to produce any evidence that defendant had notice of a proclivity by Quinn to run into people and knock them over. . ." The court also noted that the dog's rambunctious behavior, occurring at a dog park where dogs freely run around, was insufficient to establish vicious propensities. Summary judgment for the defendants was affirmed.

Hampton v.Hammons 743 P.2d 1053 (Okla. 1987)

The five-year-old child hopped a fence, which was in disrepair, into his neighbor's yard to retrieve a ball. As he was trying to leave, he was severely bitten by a pit bull that the neighbor was keeping for his son. In reversing the judgment in part, the court held that the keeping of a pit bull might be a violation of Tulsa, Okla., Rev. Ordinances tit. 2, ch. 1, § (2)(d) (1973), so the child's negligence per se theory was actionable. The court held that the neighbor was the dog's owner as a matter of law under the dog-bite statute, Okla. Stat. tit. 4. sec. 42.1 (1981).

Hannan v. City of Minneapolis 623 N.W.2d 281 (Minn.App. 2001)

This case held that a state statute permitting the control and ultimate destruction of dangerous animals does not preclude municipal controls that add to the breadth of public powers without regulating conditions expressly prohibited by statute.  In the case, a dog owner sought review of municipal animal control division's order for destruction of his dog.  The Court of Appeals held that the ordinance providing for destruction of dangerous dog did not conflict with statute and thus was not preempted by statute.  The court stated that, after comparing the ordinance with the state statute, it was evident that the local provision is merely additional and complementary to the statute, permitting local action that the state statute does not prohibit.  In fact, state law expressly provides for local regulation, giving municipalities full authority to regulate "potentially dangerous dogs," as long as the regulations are not breed-specific.

Hardsaw v. Courtney 665 N.E.2d 603 (Ind.App.,1996)

In this Indiana case, the Hardsaws appeal a jury verdict in favor of the Courtneys stemming from their complaint for damages against the Hardsaws after their daughter Kimberly was attacked and bitten by the Hardsaws' dog who was under the supervision of the Hardsaw's 12-year-old daughter at the time of the attack. The Courtneys alleged negligent entrustment. On appeal, the Hardaws argue that, as a matter of law, absent evidence of prior viciousness, they could not have been negligent in entrusting Buster to their daughter and, thus, that this case should not have been submitted to the jury. The court found that the question of whether owner's entrustment of the control and restraint of a dog to a child was reasonable under the circumstances is a question for the jury. Here, the dog was restrained in the yard by a chain, but he was left under the care and supervision of a twelve-year-old child who had no previous experience supervising him. The judgment was affirmed.

Harris v. Anderson County Sheriff's Office 673 S.E.2d 423 (S.C.,2009)

In this South Carolina case, the court considered the meaning of the term "or" in the state's dog bite statute, SC ST 47-3-110, and whether that word allows a plaintiff to pursue a statutory claim against the owner of the dog while that dog is in the care of another. The facts concerned a veterinary assistant who sued a county sheriff's officer after she was bitten by a police dog while the dog was kenneled at the veterinary clinic where she worked. The lower court granted summary judgment for the sheriff's office. The Supreme Court disagreed with this interpretation. Based on a plain language reading of the statute, the Court concluded that the Legislature intended to allow a claim against the owner of the dog when another person has the dog in his care or keeping.

Harris v. Barefoot 704 S.E.2d 282 (N.C. App. 2010)

A mail carrier was attacked by two dogs, and sued the dogs’ owners for negligence. The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the defendants, holding that a dog owner is not liable unless there is evidence that the dog had a vicious propensity and that the owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous.

Hass v. Money 849 P.2d 1106 (Okla. Civ. App. 1993)

While the Moneys (Defendants) were on vacation, they boarded their dog at Peppertree Animal Clinic (Peppertree). On June 16, 1990, Julie Hass (Plaintiff), an employee of Peppertree, was bitten by the dog while walking him.  The Court reverses the Defendants' summary judgment and remands to the trial court because the dog bite statute applies a strict liability standard and that the owner of a dog is only the person who has legal right to the dog. 

Hayes v. Adams 987 N.E.2d 402 (Ill.App. 2 Dist.,2013)

An 8-year-old girl suffered injuries as a result of being bitten by a dog that escaped from a veterinarian clinic. The girl sued the clinic and the owner of the dog, but the owner was granted a motion for summary judgment because she did not have care or dominion over the animal at the time of the injury; this decision was then appealed.  The Second District Appellate Court of Illinois held the Animal Control Act (510 ILCS 5/16) did not impose strict liability on a dog owner solely because he or she was the legal owner of a dog. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed because there was no reasonable or factual basis to impose liability.

Hearn v. City of Overland Park 772 P.2d 758 (Kan. 1989)

Syllabus by the Court

In an action to enjoin the City of Overland Park from enforcing an ordinance regulating the ownership of pit bull dogs within the city, the record is examined and it is held: (1) The ordinance is not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad; (2) the ordinance does not violate the due process rights of plaintiffs under the United States and Kansas Constitutions; (3) the ordinance does not violate the equal protection clauses of the United States and Kansas Constitutions; and (4) the district court did not err in dismissing the plaintiffs' claim for damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1982).

Hebert v. Broussard 886 So.2d 666 (La.App. 3 Cir., 2004)

A dog that chased and pinned a man was shot by a police officer who had been called for assistance.  The dog owner instituted an action against the police officer, the police chief and the city.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the police officer, police chief and city, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision holding the police officer was entitled to statutory immunity.

Hoesch v. Broward County 53 So.3d 1177 (Fla.App. 4 Dist., 2011)

A Broward County, Florida ordinance defines a dangerous dog as “any dog that . . . [h]as killed or caused the death of a domestic animal in one incident.” Plaintiff Brian Hoesch’s dog escaped from Hoesch’s backyard and attacked and killed a neighbor’s cat. Prior to this incident, the dog had never been declared “dangerous” by any governmental authority. Hoesch requested a hearing after Broward’s animal control division notified Hoesch of its intent to destroy his dog. After a judgment in favor of Broward County, Hoesch contends that both county ordinances conflict with state law, section 767.11(1)(b), which defines a “dangerous dog” as any dog that “[h]as more than once severely injured or killed a domestic animal . . . .” The District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District, concluded “that Broward County ordinance sections 4-2(k)(2) and 4-12(j)(2) are null and void insofar as they conflict with state law.” 

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. 

Holland v Crisafulli [1998] QSC 199

A dog, on two separate occasions, entered residential premises, turned over a cage and killed a guinea pig. The applicant claimed that this was insufficient evidence for the dog to be declared 'dangerous'. The judge found that a dog's propensity to pursue one animal should not be distinguished from a propensity to pursue all animals and that the finding of the dog as 'dangerous' should stand.

Howle v. Aqua Illinois, Inc. 2012 IL App (4th) 120207 (Ill.App. 4 Dist.) As the result of a dog bite on the defendant’s rental property, the plaintiff suffered a torn cheek and irreparable damage to her ear. The plaintiff therefore attempted to recover damages from the defendant on the common law theory of negligence and through Illinois’ Animal Control Act. The trial court, however, dismissed the Animal Control Act claim and, later, granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the negligence claim. Upon appeal, the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision, though it stated a motion for summary judgment was more appropriate then the motion to dismiss for the Animal Control Act claim.   
Huff v. Dyer 297 Ga.App. 761, 678 S.E.2d 206 (Ga.App.,2009)

In this Georgia case, the plaintiff was injured from being bitten by defendants' dog who was chained to the bed of their pickup truck while the defendants were inside an adjacent restaurant. The plaintiff sued defendants, claiming that they failed to warn her of their dog's dangerous propensities and that they committed negligence per se by violating the state's strict liability statute (OCGA § 51-2-7) and the Hall County Animal Control Ordinance. A jury found in favor of the defendants. The court found that the evidence was therefore more than sufficient to support the jury's conclusion that defendants' dog was “under restraint” for purposes of the ordinance. Further, there was no evidence that the owners had knowledge of the dog's vicious propensity. Affirmed.

Hurd v. State 988 A.2d 1143 (Md. App., 2010)

 In this Maryland case, Defendant appealed his convictions for two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and two counts of malicious destruction of property valued under $500 relating to the fatal shooting of two of his neighbor's (Randolph's) dogs. On appeal, Defendant maintains the language of the former text of 10-416(b)(3), a section of the Natural Resources Code dealing with deer hunting, renders the shooting justifiable. The Court found that Section 10-416(b)(3) is ambiguous; as such, based on the rule of lenity, the Court construed section 10-416(b)(3), with one exception, as giving persons in Washington County (prior to the 2009 amendment) a right to kill a dog pursing a deer whether or not the dog was being used for purposes of deer hunting. However, the Court found that Section 10-416 of the Natural Resources Article gave Defendant no privilege to kill a dog pursuing a turkey.

Hyatt v. Anoka Police Department 691 N.W.2d 824 (Minn. 2005)

Plaintiff was injured by a police dog during the arrest of her husband.  Plaintiff sued under a Minnesota Statute requiring strict liability for dog injuries.  The trial court held the statute applied to police dogs, the Court of Appeals reversed, and the Supreme Court ultimately held the statute does apply to police dogs.

In re Molly 712 N.W.2d 567 (Minn.App.,2006)

In this Minnesota case, the appellant challenges the district court's order designating his dog a "dangerous dog" under Minn.Stat. § 347.50, subd. 2(2) (2004). The appellate court held that the city lacked authority to bring action to enforce non-self-executing statutory provision concerning dangerous dogs. While the city of Arden Hills argues that the legislature, in section 347.53, gives cities "the power to enforce the dangerous dog statute, section 347.53 authorizes cities to "regulate potentially dangerous dogs," a statutory category expressly separate from and exclusive of "dangerous dogs." The court stated that the issue is whether Arden Hills may enforce the statute without first adopting it or promulgating procedures for its enforcement. Further, while it is undisputed that Scooter was badly injured by Molly during the attack, she was not dead then or upon arrival at the veterinary clinic. The owners undertook the decision to euthanize rather than treat the injured dog.

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.

Jacobsen v. Schwarz 50 A.D.3d 964 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., 2008)

Plaintiff appeals an order granting defendant's motion for summary judgment that dismissed her personal injury case. The plaintiff commenced this action after she was bitten by defendant's dog while working on a computer at defendant's house. This court found that summary judgment was not appropriate because the defendant warned plaintiff that the dog was possessive about her ball and not to touch it. These warnings along with the dog's actions with the ball may give rise to a finding that the defendant knew or should have known that the dog possessed a vicious propensity or a proclivity to act in a way that puts others at risk of harm.

JACQUELINE CONRAD, Plaintiff–Appellant, v. SUSAN CATAPANO and JIM CATAPANO, Defendants–Respondents Not Reported in A.3d 2013 WL 673463 (N.J.Super.A.D.,2013)

Plaintiff was injured by defendants' dog after being knocked to the ground. The plaintiff had her dog over to defendants' house for a "doggie play date" and the dogs were running off-leash in the fenced yard.The lower court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's claims of negligence and absolute liability, finding that the defendants had not prior knowledge of the dog's propensity to run into people. The Court found that there were genuine issues of material fact as to defendants' prior knowledge of the dog's proclivities to become "hyper" in the presence of other dogs. Thus, the decision to grant summary judgment was reversed and the matter remanded for trial. Notably, the Court did state that it shared "the motion judge's observation that plaintiff may well be comparatively at fault here for choosing to stand in the backyard while the three unleashed dogs ran around."

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.

Johnson v. McMahan 68 Cal.App.4th 173 (1998)

After a repairman was injured by a dog that grabbed his leg through his jeans and made him fall from a ladder, the victim sued the owners under the dog bite statute, Civ. Code, § 3342. The court held that the statute applied, even though the plaintiff was not wounded by the bite. The word “bite” did not require a puncture or tearing away of the skin.

Katsaris v. Cook 225 Cal.Rptr. 531 (Cal.App. 1 Dist., 1986)

Plaintiff's neighbor, a livestock rancher, shot plaintiff's sheepdogs after they escaped and trespassed on his property.  As a matter of first impression, the court construed the California Food and Agricultural Code provision that allows one to kill a dog that enters an enclosed or unenclosed livestock confinement area with threat of civil or criminal penalty.  The court affirmed defendant's motion with regard to the code provision, finding it gave them a privilege to kill the trespassing dogs.  Further, the court found defendants owed no duty to plaintiff thereby denying the claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress as a result of negligence in supervising the ranchhand who killed the dogs.  With regard to the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, plaintiffs cite the manner in which the dogs were killed and then dumped in a ditch and the fact defendant denied knowing the fate of the dogs.  Relying on the "extreme and outrageous conduct" test, the court held that the defendant's conduct did not fall within the statutory privilege and remanded the issue to the trial court for consideration. 

Klitzka ex rel. Teutonico v. Hellios 810 N.E.2d 252 (Ill.App. 2 Dist.,2004)

In this Illinois case, the Appellate Court considered, as a matter of first impression, under what circumstances does a landlord owe a duty of care to his tenant's invitees to prevent injury from an attack by an animal kept by the tenant on the leased premises?  A minor invitee (Alexus) of the tenants was bitten by tenants' dog and brought a negligence action against residential landlords.  It was undisputed that the tenants held exclusive control over the premises and paid $700 a month in rent to the landlords.  The Appellate Court held that even if landlords knew tenants' dog was dangerous, the landlords had no duty to protect the tenants' invitee because landlords retained no control over the leased premises where injury occurred.  "Here, the tenants' affirmative conduct of bringing the dog into the living space of the home, an area over which the landlords had no control, is what might have been the proximate cause of Alexus' injuries."

Koivisto v. Davis 745 N.W.2d 824 (Mich.App., 2008)

Defendants, the Macaks, owned two dogs being boarded at Chieftan Kennels. Plaintiff was outside on her deck when the dogs entered her property and attacked her cats, one of which died later from its injuries. The plaintiff rushed to defend the cats and suffered multiple bites from the dogs.  The trial court held that the plaintiff had “provoked” the dogs. The Court of Appeals reversed.  “The dogs were already provoked and, in fact, were in a state of attack, for whatever reason when plaintiff responded to their behaviors while on her own property.” 

Krasnecky v. Meffen 777 N.E.2d 1286 (Mass.App.Ct.,2002)

In Krasnecky v Meffen , the plaintiffs sought damages for emotional distress, loss of companionship, and society when defendant’s dogs broke into plaintiff’s backyard and killed their seven sheep. The plaintiffs loved their sheep like a parent would love a child, and went so far as to throw birthday parties for them. Plaintiff’s counsel, Steven Wise, Esq., also instructed the court to consult a text on veterinary ethics, which defined companion animals to include the plaintiff’s sheep within the definition. The court did not address the issue concerning the emotional distress claim, but instead stated that the class of persons authorized to recover were “persons” closely related to the injured person. Furthermore, Justice Jacobs noted that it would be irrational for plaintiffs to have greater rights in the case of a companion animal than in a case of the tortious death of an immediate family member.

Kringle v. Elliott 301 Ga.App. 1, 686 S.E.2d 665 (Ga.App.,2009)

The plaintiff, on behalf of her then seven-year-old son, brought an action against the defendant Elliot for injuries the child sustained resulting from a bite by defendant's golden retriever. The trial court granted the defendant's motion for a directed verdict reasoning that because this was the dog's first bite of a human, there was there was no cause of action under Georgia's “first bite” rule. The appellate court found that the excluded evidence did not indicate the owner had any reason to suspect that the dog had a propensity to bite and thus, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting defendant's motion or directing a verdict. 

Krzywicki v. Galletti 27 N.E.3d 991 (Oh Ct . App., 2015) Appellant commenced an action against defendant boyfriend, the owner of the dog that bit her, and his business, which she held was strictly liable for the injuries she suffered, where the attack occurred. The claims against defendant boyfriend were dismissed with prejudice. A jury verdict, however, found that although the business was a “harborer” of the dog, appellant was barred from recovery because she was a “keeper of the dog in that she had physical care or charge of dog, temporary or otherwise, at the time of the incident.” Appellant appealed, raising seven assignments of error for review. In addressing appellant’s claims, the Ohio Court of Appeals held that the status of an individual as an owner, keeper or harborer was relevant when deciding if an individual was barred from availing him or herself of the protections afforded by liability statutes. The court of appeals also ruled that the trial court properly gave the jury instruction and that the jury’s verdict was not “defective.” Further the court held that the testimony established at trial demonstrated that appellant had a significant relationship with the dog and that there was competent and credible evidence presented at trial to support the business’s position that appellant exercised some degree of management, possession, care custody or control over the dog. The judgment of the lower court was therefore affirmed with Judge Kathleen Ann Keough concurring and Judge Melody Stewart concurring in judgment only.
Lachenman v. Stice 838 N.E.2d 451 (Ind.App.)

In this Indiana case, a dog owner whose dog was attacked and killed by a neighbor's dog, brought an action against the neighbor to recover veterinary bills and emotional distress damages. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's grant of partial summary judgment in favor of defendant-neighbor, finding that however negligent the neighbor's behavior might have been in controlling his dog, his actions did not constitute outrageous behavior so as to give rise to claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court also refused to extend the bystander rule under plaintiff's negligent infliction of emotional distress claim to include the dog owner's witnessing the death of his dog.

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.
Legro v. Robinson --- P.3d ----, 2012 WL 5266059 (Colo.App., 2012)

While participating in a bicycle race on Forest Service lands, plaintiff (Legro) was attacked seriously injured by defendants' (Robinsons') dogs. The Robinsons held a grazing permit from the Forest Service for the land where the injury occurred and the dogs were acting as predator control dogs there. On appeal, this court agreed with the lower court that the Robinsons were landowners for purposes of the Premises Liability Act (PLA) and this did in fact abrogate the plaintiffs' common law claims. However, as a matter of first impression, the court  determined that the PLA does not abrogate the statutory dog bite claim. As to the predator control dog exception, the court found that while the dogs were working as predator control dogs, the issue is whether the dogs were on property "under the control of" the Robinsons at the time. Under these facts, a grazing permit, without more, does not establish control for the predator dog exception of the dog bite law.

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.

Lewis v. Chovan Slip Copy, 2006 WL 1681400 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.)

This Ohio case raises the issue of whether an employee of a pet grooming establishment is a "keeper" under state law, thereby preventing the application of strict liability for injury. The employee was bitten by dog while attempting to assist the establishment's owner and another employee in giving the dog a bath. She then brought an action against dog's owners asserting, among other things, that the owners were strictly liable for her injuries. The court relied on its previous definition of the word "keeper" in the context of R.C. 955.28(B) as "one having physical charge or care of the dogs." Based upon this precedent, the court found that a person who is responsible for exercising physical control over a dog is a "keeper" even if that control is only temporary.

Loban v. City of Grapevine Not Reported in S.W.3d, 2009 WL 5183802 (Tex.App.-Fort Worth,2009)

In this unpublished Texas case, Appellant Jason Loban appeals the trial court's judgment awarding appellee City of Grapevine $10,670.20 in damages. In 2006, Appellant's dogs were declared "dangerous" under the City's municipal ordinance. On appeal, Appellant argued that the trial court's award of $10,670.20 in damages to the City should be reversed because the City did not plead for monetary relief, the issue was not tried by consent, and there was no evidence to support the award. This Court agreed. In finding the monetary judgment void, the Court observed that the City did not put any request for a monetary award in its pleadings and there was no evidence in the record of the amount of the fine.

Lockett v. Hill 51 P.3d 5 (Or.App.,2002)

In this Oregon case, plaintiff sued defendant after defendant's pit bulls mauled plaintiff's cat to death while they were running loose on plaintiff's property. The trial court found that defendant was negligent and awarded plaintiffs $1,000 in compensatory damages but denied plaintiffs' claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress and loss of companionship. Plaintiff sought appeal of the trial court's denial of damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) and loss of companionship. The appellate court affirmed, holding that the cat owner was not entitled to recover damages for emotional distress.

Lundy v. California Realty 216 Cal.Rptr. 575 (Cal.App.4.Dist.)

The Court of Appeals held that an owner of a dog may be held liable for injuries inflicted by it on another person without any showing the dog had any especially dangerous propensities or that the owner knew of any such dangerous propensities. However, to impose liability on someone other than the owner, even a keeper, previous knowledge of the dog's vicious nature must appear. Aside from the rental agreement, the property owners knew nothing whatever about the dog. Thus, the facts before the trial court fell far short of creating a triable issue of fact as to defendant property owners' knowledge of any dangerous propensities on the part of the tenant's dog. "Neither do we believe judicial notice may be taken that all German shepherds are dangerous. Nor can defendants' knowledge of any dangerous propensity of the dog be inferred simply because they knew his name was Thunder."

Malpezzi v. Ryan 28 A.D.3d 1036

In this New York case, the plaintiff brought an action to recover for a dog bite sustained when she was walking on a local bike path. The court noted that it has consistently held, “a plaintiff may not recover for injuries sustained in an attack by a dog unless he or she establishes that the dog had vicious propensities and that its owner knew or should have known of such propensities”  Here, defendant and his girlfriend testified, without contradiction, that they did not experience any problems with the dog prior to the incident with Malpezzi. Specifically, each testified that Oreo did not display any act of aggression prior to biting Malpezzi. In opposition, plaintiff primarily relies upon the purportedly vicious nature of the attack, the fact that Oreo allegedly was restrained while on defendant's property and Oreo's specific breed. However, the court observed that where, as here, there is no other evidence even suggesting that defendant knew or should have known of Oreo's allegedly vicious propensities, consideration of the dog's breed is irrelevant. As such, Supreme Court erred in denying defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

Mann v. Regan 948 A.2d 1075 (Conn.App.2008)

The plaintiff (Mann) brought this action to recover damages for injuries she sustained to her face when she was bitten by a dog owned by the defendant (Regan). The incident occurred when the defendant’s dog was being cared for by the plaintiff at her house while the defendant traveled out of state. With regard to defendant's tacit admission challenge, this court found that defendant’s silence in response to her daughter’s statement, “Well, mom, you know he bit you,” was within the trial court’s discretion to admit as a hearsay exception. As to the jury instructions, this court was not persuaded that there is a meaningful distinction between the words “vicious” and “dangerous” as used in the context of an action stemming from a dog bite.

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.

Marek v. Burmester 37 A.D.3d 668, 830 N.Y.S.2d 340, 2007 N.Y. Slip Op. 01527

In this New York case, a bicyclist was injured after allegedly being chased and attacked by defendant's two dogs. The plaintiff-bicyclist sued to recover damages for his injuries. The Supreme Court , Putnam County, granted a defense motion for summary judgment, and the bicyclist appealed. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that a genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether defendants had constructive notice of the dogs' proclivity to chase bicyclists on the roadway and as to whether those actions put others at risk of harm.

McAllister v. Wiegand 2009CarswellOnt189

The plaintiff, a 55-year old woman and recent acquaintance of the defendants, was bitten on the cheek by the defendant's bull mastiff dog, resulting in a spreading infection and loss of all her teeth. The plaintiff was an invited guest in the defendant's home where she had been on 3-4 prior occasions. There was a question over whether the incident arose when the plaintiff startled the dog from sleep by petting it while bending over it, or whether the dog had just awakened when it was petted and bit her. The court found that dog and plaintiff were familiar with each other and there was nothing provocative that should have caused the dog to retaliate. Thus according to Ontario's Dog Owner Liability Act, where owners are strictly or absolutely liable for their dogs' injuries to others, the defendants were strictly liable to the plaintiff for her injuries.

McBride v. Orr 466 A.2d 952 (N.H., 1983)

In this New Hampshire case, defendant animal control officer killed plaintiff’s dog believing that it was in pursuit of a deer. Defendant claimed immunity pursuant to a state statute. The Court reversed and remanded for a determination of damages for the plaintiff. The Court went on to state that the purpose of the statute was not to authorize defendant’s killing of plaintiff’s dog when the dog was no longer pursuing the deer.

McBride v. XYZ Ins. 935 So.2d 326 (La.App. 2 Cir. 2006)

In this Louisiana dog bite case, a guest individually and on behalf of child brought an action against the dog owner to recover for bites.  The child's bites occurred while the guest and her child were visiting defendant's home after the child had been petting and hugging the dog (a fairly large Chow).  The appellate court held that the adult guest's conduct of swatting the dog with a shoe after the dog had released the child's arm was not provocation and the defendant was strictly liable for the injuries.  While the district court reasoned that the guest failed to use reasonable caution in reading the warning signs and provoked the dog by striking him after he had already released the child, this court found that the guest and her children entered the yard through the house, and she did not notice the signs. Moreover, both witnesses testified that events unfolded very fast; the record persuaded the court that Ms. McBride's conduct in swatting Smokey with a shoe was not an intentional provocation but a natural and inevitable reaction to seeing her child's arm in the dog's jaws.  

McNeely v. U.S. 874 A.2d 371 (D.C. App. 2005) Defendant McNeely was convicted in a jury trial in the Superior Court of violating the Pit Bull and Rottweiler Dangerous Dog Designation Emergency Amendment Act.  On appeal, t he Court of Appeals, held that the Act did not deprive defendant of fair warning of the proscribed conduct, as the defendant here was required to know that he owned pit bulls in order to be convicted under the Act; and the prosecutor's improper comment was rendered harmless by the trial court's curative instructions.
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.

Miles ex rel. Miles v. Rich 347 S.W.3d 477 (Mo.App. E.D., 2011)

In this Missouri case, the plaintiff filed an action against defendant dog owner for damages after defendant's dog bit the plaintiff's child. Defendant dog owner then filed a third-party petition against the Humane Society of Missouri from which defendant had adopted the dog, seeking contribution under a theory of common law negligence. Defendant appeals the lower court's dismissal, specifically contending that the Humane Society breached 1) its duty to prevent the adoption of the dog by doing tests it knew would have identified the dog's dangerous propensity to bite ; and 2) its duty to fully inform defendant of the risks of keeping a dog who has bitten in the past. The appellate court found that the Humane Society did not own, possess, harbor or control the dog when it bit Ms. Miles; thus, it had no duty under common law negligence principles to prevent the harm.

Moore v. Myers 868 A.2d 954 (Md. 2005)

A twelve-year-old girl was running away from her neighbor's pit bull when she was struck by a car.  The girl's mother brought claims on behalf of her daughter and the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the neighbors on all counts and submitted the question of the driver's negligence to the jury.  The Court of Appeals reversed in part holding questions of the dog owner's violation of county law, whether the fifteen year old son owed a duty to protect the girl from the dog, and whether actions by the son breached his duty to protect were all questions for the jury. 

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.
Morehead v. Deitrich 932 N.E.2d 1272 (Ind.App.,2010)

Postal carrier sued landlord for negligence after tenant's dog bit her.  The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant, holding that landlord did not have a duty to keep dog from biting postal carrier absent control over the property.

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