Dog Haven

Q: My parents, my son on his tricycle and my daughter in her stroller were on the sidewalk in front of our home.  Nearby, some college students had been renting a house, and one of them owned some dogs.  That property had a fenced-in backyard, and the dogs were allowed to roam freely there.

If the dogs’ owner had something going on, one of the housemates would feed the dogs, clean up after them, and put them in their cages.  On a few occasions, the dogs had let themselves out of the backyard by pushing through a hole in the fence.  Nevertheless, no one took any steps to mend it.

The dogs had escaped, and they came to our sidewalk.  When my family fled to the backyard, the attack continued there.  Similarly, in our kitchen.  The horror ended only when my father was finally able to chase the creatures away.

A: Generally, the owner of a domestic animal who knows or should know that the animal has a vicious disposition or vicious propensity is strictly liable for an injury caused by the animal.  Also, strict liability can be imposed against a person if he harbors or keeps the animal with knowledge of its vicious propensity.

One harbors a dog by making it a part of his or her household, e.g. by providing food or shelter.  Where a dog is kept within a home on a consistent enough basis to become part of a household, it can be found that those who do not own the dog, but allow it to reside there and participate in its care, are harboring.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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