Homeowner, Not Dog Owner, Responsible For Dog Bite

Wisconsin’s Court of Appeals held today that a homeowner whose friend lived with him for four months before the attack was responsible for the damages caused by the dog.  The Oshkosh Northwestern reported:

The dog bite statute holds persons who “own, harbor or keep” a dog strictly liable for any damages the dog causes.  A statutory keeper may be simultaneously liable with an owner.  The trial court concluded that at the moment of injury, the dog’s legal owner had control of the dog and, therefore, Seefeldt was not a statutory keeper under § 174.02.  We reverse the trial court’s ruling. 

The dog was one of 4 dogs at the residence.  The dog ran out of the front door, charged across the street and bit the victim three times causing 16 puncture wounds.

There was a dissent.  Judge Snyder argued:

That dog bite cases are decided on their particular facts and Seefeldt had relinquished her limited “keeper” status when Waterman ran after his dog.

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in West AllisSheboygan,  Plymouth,  and  Germantown.

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