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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 37949
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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my son was staying with me for a few weeks and brought his

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my son was staying with me for a few weeks and brought his pit bull with him. everyone knew the dog was there and most were ok with coming over with the dog there. my mohter-in-law who was affraid of all dogs asked for the dog to be put up when she came and we complied. however one afternoon she came over and entered my home unannounced while i was in the back yard. the dog attacked her and she had to go to the hospital where she later died from complications (blood clot). now the district attorney is threatning criminal charges. do i have any chance of not going to jail? can they really charge me with a criminal act?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

If I may ask, what charges are being pursued? Is a pit bull forbidden in your locale from being owned? Did the mother-in-law stay with you also, or have keys to the premises?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

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

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Karen,

So just to be clear, while the pitbull was contained inside the home, your doors to the property were not locked and anyone who simply enter?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

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?

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Karen,

 

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.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.


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

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Karen,

 

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!

Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 37949
Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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