Articles Posted in Dog Bites and Other Animal Claims

Cassandra Blake sued the Wyoming County Animal Shelter where she was working as a volunteer dog walker, after a dog at the shelter bit her causing her to suffer personal injuries. The Court concluded that Wyoming Animal Shelter was not responsible for damages suffered as a result of the injury because the Animal Shelter had successfully proven that it did not have knowledge of the dog’s “vicious propensities.”

The Court stated that, in order for Blake to succeed on her claim against the Wyoming County Animal Shelter, it must be proven that (1) the dog had “vicious propensities”, and (2) that the Wyoming County Animal Shelter had knowledge of the dog’s “vicious propensities”prior to the biting incident.  The Court concluded that while the first element may have been proven, the Wyoming County Animal Shelter did not have knowledge of the dog’s “vicious propensities.” As evidence of “vicious propensities,” Blake offered evidence that shelter personnel had been informed at the time of the dog’s surrender that the dog had previously knocked over a child. While the Court noted a tendency to knock a person over may reflect, what it termed a “proclivity to act in a way that puts others at risk of harm” – knocking a person over is, by itself, insufficient to prove that the dog had “vicious propensities.” Regardless, the cause of Blake’s injuries was a dog bite, not being knocked over by the dog. Therefore, the fact that a dog once knocked over a child does not mean that the dog had “vicious propensities.”

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