pit bull are not prohibited but they must be properly contained which this one was. no my mother-in-law did not live with me and she did not have keys. she simply came to visit. the door was not locked but people aren't supposed to just come into your house are they? she knew the dog was there and she was afraid of all dogs so I don't understand why she would just walk in. I was told that I would be investigated for criminal negligence in harboring a dangerous animal but I am thinking that now that she has died they might up it to wrongful death or criminally negligent homicide or something like that. and I was also informed by the police that it is common for victim's insurance companys to sue you for reimbersment of medical bills
yes the dog was inside my home behind an unlocked door. I guess anyone could have just walked up and entered. but no one is supposed to enter your home without permission, are they?
Thank you for your follow-up Under law that is not a 'proper containment' exactly because the animal was easily accessible to third parties. For a pit bull or any animal to be contained, they must be in a locked space. I do agree that typically someone who enters the premises is trespassing and assumes the risk found within the property, but as this was not strictly a trespasser and had a right to be on premises in the past, there is a basis to be made of negligence as far as a civil level. I do not really see it go up to the level of criminal negligence as that is a bit of a stretch, but it may be possible if the state claims that leaving the animal unattended and essentially unlocked when you had guests is reckless and therefore potentially criminal behavior. That is therefore a possibility--it is a bit of a subjective case and not easy for the state to make, but there is likely enough to charge and pursue. If they do charge you, please retain counsel if you can since this case appears to be fairly tough for the state to win under, and you may be able to beat it in court--I truly see your position as slightly stronger, but at the same time I do not see the state's actions here as frivolous or improper if they do decide to pursue you.
Hope that helps.
the door is mostly always locked, I just forgot to lock it because I was hurrying to the back yard to get the chickens back in the pen. I guess that makes no difference
In this situation it unfortunately does not. Past behavior does not matter, present actions at the time of the event is what the courts would tend to focus on. And since the doors were unlocked, there was no proper containment, and as this was a very dangerous animal, it turns the behavior into negligent or potentially even reckless actions.
I am sorry!
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).