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What Liability Do Dog Owners Have for Injuries Caused by an At-Large Dog? (Degraff v. Wight)

Injuries caused by an at-large dog can be common in country areas such as Idaho. The dog bite attorneys at Brent Gordon Law have handled many dog bite cases in Idaho Falls, Pocatello and other surrounding areas. The following is an example of a case when a dog bite injury occurred from a dog at-large.

Degraff v. Wight Case

A woman was injured when she was attacked by a dog while the woman was riding a horse.  The dog was vicious because it had previously attacked and bitten other people.  The woman was attacked on the dog owner’s property.  The property was part of an undeveloped subdivision.  The woman did not have permission to ride a horse on the dog owner’s property.

The county ordinance made it unlawful for any person to own, harbor and have in his or her possession any dog or dogs which molest a passerby or passing vehicles, attacks other animals, trespasses on school grounds, is repeatedly at large, damages private or public property, barks, whines or howls in an excessive, continuous or untimely fashion.  A violation of this statute is negligence.

The court addressed what duties the dog owner had to a trespasser on the dog owner’s property.   The court noted that the dog owner owed duties to the woman if the presence of the trespasser is known to the owner or occupier or could have reasonably been anticipated.  The owner has a duty not to injure a trespasser by a willful and wanton act or by doing an affirmative act of negligence.

“Willful and wanton” is defined as follows: willful and wanton misconduct is present if the defendant intentionally does or fails to do an act, knowing or having a reason to know facts which would lead a reasonable man to realize that his conduct not only creates unreasonable risk of harm to another, but involves a high degree of probability that such harm would result.

A jury needs to determine whether harboring a vicious dog on property, knowing that the vicious dog is repeatedly at large, is willful and wanton conduct that would result in liability for injuries caused by the vicious dog to a trespasser.

Dog Bite Attorneys at Brent Gordon Law

If you have been injured by a dog bite, contact the experienced dog bite lawyers at the law firm of Brent Gordon in Idaho Falls and Pocatello. Our attorneys believe every client deserves fair representation. We have represented many dog bite victims. Contact our trusted and experienced attorneys for a free consolation to discuss your dog bite case. We can usually tell you over the phone if you have a good case.

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Idaho Falls Law Office

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