Personal Injury Lawyers | Dog Bite Injury Case Weighed Pt. 2

Personal Injury Lawyers | One day, while homeowner was at the house, he invited a friend to visit. When she arrived, the daughter told her homeowner was in the barn. As the visitor made her way to the barn, four dogs ran at her from the house and attacked her, biting her multiple times.

She later filed a lawsuit, alleging homeowner and dog owners were negligent in keeping and controlling the dogs and were thus liable for her injuries. Initially, a trial court indicated the homeowner could be held liable as the “statutory owner” because he “harbored” or “gave shelter or refuge to” the dogs.

However, the state supreme court reversed. No one disputed homeowner did not “own” the dogs, but there was a question of whether he “harbored” them, as noted in the statute. To “harbor” means in part to exercise some measure of care, control or custody over. That was not applicable in this case, the court determined.

Generally, landlords are not liable for the actions of tenants’ dogs, but this was a unique situation in that the homeowner did not treat his daughter and her family as “tenants.” But nor did he live on site or care for the animals. Thus, the court in weighing the totality of evidence ruled he was not liable for injuries sustained by a guest as a result of the dogs’ actions.

The daughter and her family owned horse and two dogs, and all resided on the property. The family then adopted a third dog, who was pregnant, and kept three of her puppies.The homeowner, while not fond of the dogs, never instructed his daughter to get rid of them. He never fed, watered, bathed or groomed them and did not ever take them to the vet. Additionally, he never paid for any of their food or care. Injury lawyer fl

 

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