A local judge held off on making a decision in a dog bite case. The request came from an Ohio woman who wanted her dog released from the county dog warden. The hearing is now scheduled for Aug. 9.
The case arises from an incident with the woman's dog. The victim's mother alleges that she was scratched and bitten by the dog while trying to protect her daughter from being bitten. The mother also claims that this isn't the dog's first attack and that other neighborhood children have been bitten. According to the dog warden, there have been no additional reports other than the one at issue.
The victim received 21 stitches after the attack. The dog's owner pled not guilty to charges that the dog was running at large. The mother of the victim, however, wants the dog euthanized.
A revised portion of the Ohio dog laws went into effect on May 22, but there is nothing in the law that obliges a dangerous or vicious dog to be euthanized. The law merely sets out rules for dog owners to follow once the pet is officially deemed a nuisance, dangerous or vicious.
The open-ended law leaves some discretion for the judge in this case. The judge will consider whether the dog should be released to its owner if the owner can comply with the categories in the revised law. The judge will also determine whether the dog is vicious or dangerous pending a decision on whether the owner's appeal of the designation was timely.
Property owners in Ohio have a duty to keep their premises free from unsafe conditions. This standard of care also applies to dog owners. If the owner in this case is found to have failed in her duty of care, the victim may be awarded compensation to cover medical expenses and other damages.
Source: Toledo Blade, "Dog bite case is postponed," Tanya Irwin, June 26, 2012
· Our firm handles similar situations to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Columbus Premises Liability page.