As part of our series discussing dog bites, there is some jurisprudence that we need to look at and follow as owners of domestic animals.
In the case of Trager v. Thor, as decided by the Supreme Court of Michigan, different laws apply when it comes to the possession of a domestic animal. In this article, let us look at the different laws that apply.
Restatement Torts, 2d, § 509, p 15, provides as follows:
There is the application of strict liability when the “possessor of a domestic animal that he knows or has reason to know has dangerous propensities abnormal to its class, is subject to liability for harm done by the animal to another, although he has exercised the utmost care to prevent it from harming”.
This kind of liability is limited to harm that results from the abnormally dangerous propensity of which the possessor knows or has reason to know.
Strict Liability Attaches
Strict liability attaches for harm done by a domestic animal when the following elements are present:
- one is the possessor of the animal;
- one has scienter of the animal’s abnormal dangerous propensities; and
- The harm results from the dangerous propensity that was known or should have been known.
Michigan Penal Code. Chapter IX. Animals. 750.66a
Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated. Chapter 750. Michigan Penal Code. The Michigan Penal Code. Chapter IX. Animals. 750.66a. Bites by dog or wolf-dog crosses; persons responsible for actions of animals remaining on the scene of bite; penalties and fines; police dog exception.
Sec. 66a. (1) If a person 18 years of age or older is responsible for controlling the actions of a dog or wolf-dog cross and the person knows or has reason to know that the dog or wolf-dog cross has bitten another person, the person shall remain on the scene until the requirements of section 66 [FN1] are fulfilled.
(2) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.
(3) This section does not apply if the person is bitten by a police dog. As used in this subsection, “police dog” means that term as defined in section 50c. [FN2]
(4) As used in this section, “dog” and “wolf-dog cross” mean those terms as defined in section 2 of the wolf-dog cross act, 2000 PA 246, MCL 287.1002.
A person who is 18 years of age is responsible for controlling the actions of a dog. If an individual is found guilty, it is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500,000.
In the coming articles, we will discuss more dog bite liability and more about the laws concerning domestic animals.
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