Dangerous Dog: Related Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
State v. Griffin 684 P.2d 32 (Or. 1984)

Appeal of a conviction in district court for cruelty to animals.  Defendant was convicted of cruelty to animals after having been found to have recklessly caused and allowed his dog to kill two cats, and he appealed. The Court of Appeals held that forfeiture of defendant's dog was an impermissible condition of probation.

State v. Smith 685 A.2d 73 (N.J.Super.L. 1996)

This case involves the construction of a Hoboken, New Jersey dangerous dog ordinance in light of the state Vicious and Potentially Dangerous Dog Act.  The owner's dog that was the subject of this case was ordered by the municipal court to be destroyed after it bit a person on the hand.  In applying the relevant preemption test, the court found that the Act preempted any city ordinance purporting to cover same subject.  As noted by the court, it was the procedural conflict that caused the most concern.  Thus, because the procedural/jurisdictional defect in the ordinance was not cured, the municipal court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.

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.”

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.

State v. Lesoing-Dittoe 693 N.W.2d 261 (Neb. 2005)

A married couple owned a pet dog that had a history of injuring other dogs.  The married couple's dog injured a neighbors dog and, under a Nebraska Statute, was ordered to be destroyed.  The Supreme Court of Nebraska reversed the decision holding the penalty was unreasonable.

Allen v. Camp 70 So. 290 (Ala.App. 1915)

Defendant shot and killed Plaintiff's dog, which had bitten Defendant's daughter several days earlier, for the purpose of sending the dog's head to a laboratory for examination for rabies. The Court of Appeals of Alabama found that Plaintiff's wife's injuries were too remote to be compensable, when the wife was not home at the time of the incident and became excited and hysterical upon hearing of the incident several hours later. The Appeals Court also held that although one may protect himself or his family from injury by a dog or other animal when on his own private property or on public property, the destruction of an animal is wrongful when the danger of attack and subsequent injury by that animal no longer exists, and where the animal is not trespassing.

Brans v. Extrom 701 N.W.2d 163 (Mich.App.,2005)

When the plaintiff accidentally stepped on the dog, the dog bit him.  On the statutory claim, the jury found that the biting was with provocation even though from an unintentional act.  On the common law claim, the jury found that the incident did not result from the abnormally dangerous propensities of the dog. The court affirmed, finding the trial court correctly instructed the jury that an unintentional act could constitute provocation under the dog-bite statute.

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.

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.

Stolte v. Hammack 716 S.E.2d 796 (Ga. App., 2011)

After home owner’s roommate was attacked by a pit bull inside the home, the victim filed suit against owner under the vicious animal and the premises liability statutes. The Court of Appeals held that, because the roommate knew about the dog’s vicious propensity to the same extent as the owner, the owner was not liable. Plaintiff must present evidence that the owner had superior knowledge of the dog's temperament for the owner to be liable.

Vanater v. Village of South Point 717 F. Supp. 1236 (D. Ohio 1989)

Village criminal ordinance, which prohibited the owning or harboring of pit bull terriers or other vicious dogs within village limits, was not overbroad, even though identification of a "pit bull" may be difficult in some situations, as there are methods to determine with sufficient certainty whether dog is a "pit bull.".

Newport v. Moran 721 P.2d 465 (Or.App.,1986)

In this Oregon case, an action was brought to recover damages for injuries after defendant's dog ran into plaintiff and knocked her down. The lower court entered a verdict against the defendant and she appealed. The Court of Appeals held that, after reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, there was find no evidence that would put defendant on notice that the dog had a potentially dangerous propensity to run into people. Further, without some reason to foresee that the dog was likely to run into people, there was no common-law duty to confine the dog. The evidence also did not warrant submission of the case to the jury on the theory of negligence per se for violation of the dog control ordinance because this risk was not one anticipated by the ordinance. Reversed.

American Dog Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. Dade County, Fla. 728 F.Supp. 1533 (S.D.Fla.,1989)

Associations of dog owners sued Dade, County, Florida seeking declaratory judgment that an ordinance that regulated “pit bull” dogs was unconstitutionally vague. Plaintiffs contend that there is no such breed as a pit bull, but rather a three breeds that this ordinance has mistakenly lumped together. The District Court held that ordinance sufficiently defined “pit bull” dogs by specifically referencing three breeds recognized by kennel clubs, including a description of the characteristics of such dogs, and provided a mechanism for verification of whether a particular dog was included. The uncontradicted testimony of the various veterinarians reflected that most dog owners know the breed of their dog and that most dog owners look for and select a dog of a particular breed.

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).

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.” 

Rogers v. State 760 S.W.2d 669 (Tex. App. 1988).

Dog fighting case. Where the dog fighting area was in an open section of woods near the defendant's home, police officers were not required to obtain a search warrant before entering the defendant's property because of the "open fields" doctrine.

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).

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.

American Dog Owners Ass'n v. City of Yakima 777 P.2d 1046 (Wash.1989)
In this Washington case, plaintiff brought suit against the City of Yakima challenging an ordinance that banned “pit bulls” dogs. The Superior Court, Yakima County, granted city's motion for summary judgment, and plaintiffs appealed. Plaintiffs first argued that the ordinance is vague because a person of ordinary intelligence cannot tell what is prohibited.  The Supreme Court disagreed, finding that the City used adequate standards for identification in the professional standards and illustrations to show that a particular dog meets the professional standard. Thus, the Court found that the ordinance gave sufficient notice of what was conduct prohibited. Summary judgment for the City was affirmed.
Sarno v. Kelly 78 A.D.3d 1157 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept.. 2010)

A dog bite victim sought damages against absentee landlords after the tenant's bull mastiff dog bit him in right thigh. The deposition testimony of one landlord indicated that he visited the rental house approximately once per month to collect rent and check on the house in general, and only on two of those occasions did he see the dog. During one of these visits, he petted the dog without incident. Thus, the landlord established that he neither knew nor should have known that the dog had vicious propensities, and that he did not have sufficient control over the premises to allow him to remove or confine the dog.

Russell v. Rivera 780 N.Y.S.2d 699

Passerby sued dog owner for bitten finger.  Held:  because dog had shown no previous vicious propensities, the owner is not strictly liable, and, the owner was not negligent.  Reversed.

Bates v. Constable 781 N.Y.S.2d 861 (N.Y. 2004)

A son obtained a dog from defendant for his father to have as a pet.  The dog bit the father and the father sued defendant for failing to warn him of the dog's vicious propensities.  The Court held the defendant did not owe the second transferee of the dog a duty to warn and granted summary judgment in favor of defendant.

Wright v. Schum 781 P.2d 1142 (Nev.,1989)

In this Nevada case, an eleven-year-old boy who was a passerby was bitten by a dog. The jury found the owner liable, but trial court judge dismissed the landlord as a defendant. The Supreme Court found the landlord in this case could be liable under general tort obligations because he voluntarily undertook a duty to secure the neighborhood from harm by the dog after he made the tenant promise not to allow the dog outside unless chained. Thus, material questions of fact remained that precluded summary judgment as to whether the landlord breached his duty of care to the public where he allowed the tenant to remain with the dog and then failed to repair the gate that allowed the dog to escape and injure the plaintiff when it was left unchained.

Aversa v. Bartlett 783 N.Y.S.2d 174 (N.Y. 2004)

Plaintiff was awarded $100,000 for past pain and suffering and $200,000 for future pain and suffering after she was bitten in the face by Defendant's dog.  Defendant appealed on the basis that the jury award for future pain and suffering was unreasonable compensation.  The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court modified the judgment to be $75,000 for past pain and suffering after Plaintiff stipulated to the decrease.

Williams v. Galofaro 79 So.3d 1068 (La.App. 1 Cir. 11/9/11)

Housekeeper tripped over the family dog, sustaining injuries. She and her husband sued homeowners and their insurer for damages. The Court of Appeal found for defendants, holding that the dog did not pose an unreasonable risk of harm because plaintiffs did not show that the risk of injury resulting from puppy-like behavior multiplied by the gravity of the harm threatened outweighed the utility of keeping the dog as a pet.

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.

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.

Sawh v. City of Lino Lakes 800 N.W.2d 663 (Minn.App.,2011)

The city council ordered the destruction of a dog after finding it to be a dangerous animal and the owner appealed. The Court of Appeals held that procedural due process required that the owner should have been given a meaningful opportunity to contest the declaration of the dog as a “potentially dangerous animal” before it was declared a “dangerous animal” under the city ordinance.

Pray v. Whiteskunk 801 N.W.2d 451 (S.D., 2011)

In this South Dakota case, the plaintiff suffered a broken knee after Defendant's Rottweiler brook loose from its owner and ran toward the street, causing plaintiff to fall. Plaintiff brought an action for damages against both the dog owner and the city, specifically alleging the the city knew the dog was dangerous and failed to enforce its vicious animal ordinance. On appeal of the granting of summary judgment for the city, this court found that plaintiff failed to establish that the action taken by the city caused the harm to Pray or exposed her to greater risks, thereby leaving her in a worse position than she was in before the city took action. While this Court found that the city had actual knowledge of the dog's dangerousness, this alone is insufficient.

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.

Brooks ex rel. Brooks v. Parshall 806 N.Y.S.2d 796 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.,2006)

In this New York case, a then seven-year-old boy was attending a gathering at the home of the owners of a German Shepard dog. According to the plaintiff, the dog growled at him when he arrived and allegedly growled at another man at the party sometime later.   Defendant denied hearing the growl and t estimony showed that the boy continued to play with the dog throughout the party and into the next morning.   When the boy was leaving in the morning, he attempted to “hug” the dog from behind when the dog turned and bit the boy in the face.   In upholding defendant's motion for summary judgment, the court found that even if the dog had initially growled at the boy, that was not enough to establish that the dog had vicious propensities or that the owners had knowledge of the dog's vicious propensities.  

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.

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."

State v. Cowan 814 N.E.2d 846 (Ohio 2004)

A neighbor of the owner of 3 dogs complained to the dog warden, alleging that two of the dogs bit her.  The dog warden then advised the owner that her dogs were dangerous and vicious and that she must follow the statutory rules for owning vicious dogs.  When she failed to follow those statutory rules, she was criminally prosecuted.  The Supreme Court of Ohio said that her constitutional right to due process was infringed because she had no chance before trial to challenge the designation of her dogs as vicious.

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. . .”

Bailey v. Veitch 814 N.Y.S.2d 459 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.,2006)

In this New York memorandum opinion, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that fact issues remained as to whether injuries sustained by child were caused by dog, and whether defendants knew or should have known of dog's vicious propensities. At the time of the alleged bite, the four-year-old child was alone in a room with the dog and sustained a gaping laceration on her nose and multiple puncture wounds on her face. The court also determined there was an issue of fact as to whether the dog previously displayed vicious tendencies where the dog bit its owner's grandson on the hand two weeks prior to the instant incident.

Anderson v. Christopherson 816 N.W.2d 626 (Minn. 2012)

This appeal asks two questions: whether defendant-dog owners (Christophersons) were strictly liable under Minn.Stat. § 347.22 for plaintiff Anderson's injuries suffered when he attempted to break up a fight between defendants' and plaintiff's dogs; and (2) whether one of the defendants was an "owner" for purposes of this law. In the case at hand, the court found that the events leading to Anderson's injury could produce three reasonable alternative inferences such that summary judgment was inappropriate. The court found there was an issue whether the father Dennis Christopherson was "harboring" the dog at the home for purposes of the animal owner liability statute.

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.
Sawh v. City of Lino Lakes 823 N.W.2d 627 (Minn.,2012)

A city ordered a dog to be destroyed after three separate biting incidents. Upon the owner’s appeal of the city’s determinations, the appeals court reversed the city’s decision to destroy the dog because the city had not allowed the owner an opportunity to challenge the “potentially dangerous” determination. The appeals court (800 N.W.2d 663 (Minn.App.,2011) held the city had therefore violated the owner’s procedural due process rights. Upon review by the Supreme Court of Minnesota, however, the court held that the owner’s procedural due process rights were not violated because the “potentially dangerous” determination did not deprive the owner of a property interest and because the city satisfied the basic requirements of procedural due process. Additionally, the court found that the dangerous dog and the destruction determinations were not arbitrary or capricious. The court therefore reversed the decision of the court of appeals, upheld the city's “dangerous dog” determination, and affirmed the city's order of destruction.

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.

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.

University Towers Associates v. Gibson 846 N.Y.S.2d 872 (N.Y.City Civ.Ct. 2007)
In this New York case, the petitioner, University Towers Associates commenced this holdover proceeding against the rent-stabilized tenant of record and various undertenants based on an alleged nuisance where the tenants allegedly harbored pit bulls. According to petitioner, the pit bull is an alleged “known dangerous animal” whose presence at the premises creates an threat. The Civil Court of the City of New York held that the landlord's notice of termination did not adequately apprise the tenant of basis for termination; further, the notice of termination and the petition in the holdover proceeding did not allege objectionable conduct over time by the tenant as was required to establish nuisance sufficient to warrant a termination of tenancy.
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. 

Van Kleek v. Farmers Insurance Exchange 857 N.W.2d 297 (Neb., 2014) Plaintiff agreed to watch a couple’s dog while they were out of town. While plaintiff was caring for the dog, the animal bit her on her lower lip. Plaintiff filed a claim with the couple's insurance company. The insurance company rejected the claim because the plaintiff was also "insured," defined to include “any person ... legally responsible” for covered animals, and the policy excluded coverage for bodily injuries to "insureds." Plaintiff filed an action for declaratory judgment against the insurance company, seeking a determination that the policy covered her claim. The insurance company moved for summary judgment, and the district court sustained the insurance company's motion, reasoning that plaintiff was “legally responsible” for the dog because she fed and watered the animal and let it out of the house while the couple was away. The Supreme Court of Nebraska affirmed and held the insurance company was entitled to summary judgment.
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.

Christensen v. Lundsten 863 N.Y.S.2d 886, 2008 WL 4118071 (N.Y.Dist.Ct.)

In this New York case, the parent of child injured by a dog brought an action seeking to have the dog declared a “dangerous dog” under the relevant law. The Court conducted a trial of the “dangerous dog” petition filed and rendered an oral decision that declared the respondents' Chesapeake Bay Retriever “Nellie” to be a dangerous dog under New York Agricultural and Markets Law § 121. The parties contested the appropriateness of a finding of “negligence” and “strict liability” and the entry of judgment. The District Court held that the court would not resolve issue of negligence because the issue was not properly joined for disposition; however, the owners were strictly liable for child's unreimbursed medical expenses.

Pepper v. Triplet 864 So.2d 181 (La. 2004)

Neighbor sued dog owner for injuries resulting from dog bite.  Supreme Court held that a plaintiff must show that, first, that the injuries could have been prevented by the dog owner and that the plaintiff did not provoke the dog to attack, second, that the dog presented an unreasonable risk of harm, and third, that the owner failed to exercise reasonable care.  Plaintiff did not accomplish this.  Reversed. (Extensive history of state dog bit law.)

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. 

Toledo v. Tellings 871 N.E.2d 1152 (Ohio, 2007)

In this Ohio case, the defendant, who owned three pit bull type dogs, was convicted in the Municipal Court, Lucas County, of violating the Toledo city ordinance that limited ownership to only one pit bull per household. On appeal by the City, the Supreme Court found the state and the city have a legitimate interest in protecting citizens against unsafe conditions caused by pit bulls. The evidence presented in the trial court supports the conclusion that pit bulls pose a serious danger to the safety of citizens. The statutes and the city ordinance are rationally related to serve the legitimate interests of protecting Ohio and Toledo citizens.

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.

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