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Is a house owner responsible for renter's dog who attacked?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
http://www.postcrescent.com/article/...04&located=RSS
The lower court ruled that a homeowner is NOT responsible for her roommate's dog, who attacked and injured a woman walking by on the other side of the street. The appellate court overturned that, citing that by allowing the dog to live in her home with his owner,made her as responsible as the owner The dissenting appellate judge made a good point - when the dog went to attack, the renter/dog owner, not the homeowner, attempted to control him (he was in the process of leaving with his dog for a ride to the store).
The homeowner had let him & his dog move in with her & her dogs because he had lost his job & his girlfriend's apartment doesn't allow dogs.
No good deed goes unpunished, I guess
post #2 of 8
That's so silly. Obviously, the house owners were not the keepers as they don't even know where the tenant and his dog have gone to. That's like saying the property owners are liable for the actions of all the pets at my apartment complex... which houses hundreds of people.
post #3 of 8
I had to stop and think about this one. He's not the typical renter, as he lives in a house with the homeowner. It's not like he lives in an apartment building where the landlord co-ocuppies the space. I have 3 large dogs myself, and I put myself in the shoes of, if I had someone living here temporarily with their dog, would I be responsible for their behavior? There is a part of me that says yes. I wouldn't tolerate aggressive behavior in a dog that lives under my roof and if that person couldn't control their dog, I would ask them to leave or bring them into training. But there is another part of me that says, it's not my dog, I wasn't even there when the incident happened, so how could I be responsible for the attack? I'm leaning towards the latter.
post #4 of 8
Quote:
as they don't even know where the tenant and his dog have gone to.
I am not sure about this statement. From what I read and I could be reading it wrong. The dog still remains on property according to

Quote:
Wisconsin cases leads us to conclude that Seefeldt had not relinquished keeper status, as she still maintained the dog at her premises,
Am I not understanding this statement? I think the owner fled, and left the dog behind. (Not a suprise) lol...I see this all the time.

I would say that the home owner had a duty to make sure if she had a dog on her property living there that she would be responsible for the confinement of the animal as well.

It's touch and go though. I dunno. Glad I am not a judge.
post #5 of 8
Honestly, it would depend on how the insurance policy that the homeowner holds is written. That's what is really at issue here, isn't it? Who is going to pay? Obviously the actual dog's owner is a coward who won't face up to what happened, since he moved out of state and can't be located. Typical. So the person who is attacked still wants her medical bills covered (rightly so), and of course wants thousands extra for her pain and suffering and emotional trauma (sorry, but doesn't everyone have some kind of "emotional trauma"? I'm not getting thousands of dollars for my emotional trauma). It isn't really about responsibility, it's about the almighty dollar.
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breal76 View Post
I am not sure about this statement. From what I read and I could be reading it wrong. The dog still remains on property according to

Quote:
[Wisconsin cases leads us to conclude that Seefeldt had not relinquished keeper status, as she still maintained the dog at her premises,]

Am I not understanding this statement? I think the owner fled, and left the dog behind. (Not a suprise) lol...I see this all the time.

I would say that the home owner had a duty to make sure if she had a dog on her property living there that she would be responsible for the confinement of the animal as well.

It's touch and go though. I dunno. Glad I am not a judge.
If you look at the language, I think it meant at the time of the attack... not currently. I could be wrong, but I think, especially in regard to the case, that it refers to the period of time 'in which the attack occurred.'

My view is that it was not her dog, she had no legal obligations to keep it under control. Yes, it lived there but it wasn't hers. It's who the dog is licensed to, not necessarily who owns the property. I was in a roommate situation briefly (whole other can of worms there), and I had no legal standing over her cat, nor she over my two...
post #7 of 8
Someone should have been held responsible and it should have been the owner. Not the homeowner.
Money should be paid for medical damage and maybe some for pain depending on the bites, locations, permanent scars and all so I could some pain but the suffering should come from severe attacks.

I would be mad as the friend they their so called friends brought a dog to their home that was untrained and a biter.
post #8 of 8
I am a landlord and I try to be pet friendly by letting tenants have cats and dogs. I looked this up one time and learned that under some circumstances I may be on the hook if a nasty dog that belongs to one of my tenants bites someone.

Quote:
In general, when a tenant's dog injures someone, courts hold the landlord liable only if the landlord:

knew the dog was dangerous and could have had the dog removed; or
"harbored" or "kept" the tenant's dog - that is, cared for or had some control over the dog.
http://doglaw.hugpug.com/doglaw_031.html

So as I read this - and I am not a lawyer - if you as a homeowner let someone live with you and you are aware they have a nasty dog, you could be liable. It has less to do with responsibility than with the fact that the injured party stands a better chance of getting something from your homeowner's insurance.

I think the best chance the homeowner has to defend themself is to prove that as far as they knew, this was a nice dog, like it had passed obedience, gotten AKC CGC etc. But if they knew this was a nasty dog and let it live there anyway then they are on the hook.
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