Michigan

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Rickrode v. Wistinghausen


In this Michigan case, a mother sued as next friend for injuries suffered by her daughter after the daughter was attacked by defendant's domestic cat. The lower court directed a verdict in favor of the cat's owner and the mother then appealed. The Court of Appeals held that evidence warranted submission to the jury on questions of strict liability and negligence. If an owner has knowledge that her cat has bitten children before and that it was suffering from a disease that makes the cat extra sensitive, then a prima facie case has been made that the cat was dangerous, posing more than the normal risk of harm from cats.

Ten Hopen v. Walker


Defendant was convicted of wilfully and maliciously killing a dog.  On appeal, the court found the instructions proper and held that a plaintiff could recover exemplary damages in addition to market value as compensation, not as punitive damages.  The court also found that the killing of a dog is not justified by trespass because there are remedies for destruction of property by animals of another.

Trager v. Thor


In this Michigan case involving an action for damages after personal injury, the father of the dog’s owner was visiting his son's home when he agreed to supervise the dog while his son and daughter-in-law went shopping.

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eighbor’s child was subsequently bitten by the dog, which had been put by defendant into a bedroom. This court held that the defendant, as a temporary caretaker of the dog, could not be held to the strict liability standard of an owner keeper, but could be liable under theory of negligence. Thus, a genuine issue of material fact remained as to whether the father was negligent in fulfilling his duty of care in supervising the dog, which precluded summary judgment in a negligence action.

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