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Ray
Ray, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 36961
Experience:  30 years in civil, probate, real estate, elder law
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My wife was taking our two Pomeranians typical walk on

Customer Question

My wife was taking our two Pomeranians for a typical walk on Saturday 12/5 and when she walked past a house with three dogs in the yard. A young man took two of the dogs in the house but the third dog jumped the short fence and maul Rocco the smaller (6.5#) of our two dogs. She was yelling for help and trying to separate the two dogs and was bitten while doing so. The owners didn't respond but the neighbors came out and the dog jumped back into the yard. We took our dog to our vet but they couldn't do anything for Rocco and recommended we take him to an animal hospital that could preform the surgery he needed. He was admitted and had to have surgery the same day as his stomach was ripped open exposing his vital organs. He also had to have surgery five days later on his left hind leg as his hip was dislocated and the ligaments on the inside of his leg were ripped away from his body. He spent eight days at the hospital and we ended up with bills over $10K. He will always have a club leg now. We do have dog insurance and have filed a claim but I think it will only cover a third of the cost.
We have found out that the dog was a rescue dog that had been visiting the renters of the house. Animal Control located the dog and took it back to the rescue and the dog was put down.
Do we have any kind of case against the dog's owner, the renters, home owners or the rescue shelter to cover any of the medical costs we paid?
***** ***** (###) ###-####
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ray replied 11 months ago.

Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you .

Yes you can use the owners here and the renters for the costs you have incurred and the permanent damages.

You may want to sue each one of them for the $5k limits.This would come close to making you whole.You can also use a lawyer here and sue for more in a higher court.

It is also possible the renters and owners have insurance and this would come out in the suit here.

Small claims forms and self help here.

http://www.courts.state.md.us/district/forms/civil/dccv001br.pdf

I appreciate the chance to help and hope you will pursue this and seek some justice here.

Expert:  Ray replied 11 months ago.

Lawyer referral here..

http://www.msba.org/public/lawyer-referral.aspx

The parties here have clear liability and you would be able to recover for all including legal fees and court costs.

Expert:  Ray replied 11 months ago.

As state above, Maryland is a statutory strict liability state where the attacking dog was at large, and where the dog owner cannot prove that he neither knew nor should have known that his dog was vicious or dangerous. The full text of Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code section 3-1901 is as follows:

(a) Rebuttable presumption of owner's knowledge. --

(1) In an action against an owner of a dog for damages for personal injury or death caused by the dog, evidence that the dog caused the personal injury or death creates a rebuttable presumption that the owner knew or should have known that the dog had vicious or dangerous propensities.

(2) Notwithstanding any other law or rule, in a jury trial, the judge may not rule as a matter of law that the presumption has been rebutted before the jury returns a verdict.

(b) Common law of liability for other than owner. -- In an action against a person other than an owner of a dog for damages for personal injury or death caused by the dog, the common law of liability relating to attacks by dogs against humans that existed on April 1, 2012, is retained as to the person without regard to the breed or heritage of the dog.

(c) Liability of owner. -- The owner of a dog is liable for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog, while the dog is running at large, unless the injury, death, or loss was caused to the body or property of a person who was:

(1) Committing or attempting to commit a trespass or other criminal offense on the property of the owner;

(2) Committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense against any person; or

(3) Teasing, tormenting, abusing, or provoking the dog.

(d) Limitation of effect of section. -- This section does not affect:

(1) Any other common law or statutory cause of action; or

(2) Any other common law or statutory defense or immunity.

Expert:  Ray replied 11 months ago.

Landlord is liable here too.

[W]here a landlord leases separate portions of his property to different tenants and reserves under his control the passageways and stairways, and other parts of the property for the common use of all the tenants[,] he must then exercise ordinary care and diligence to maintain the retained portions in a reasonably safe condition.' Langley Park Apts. v. Lund Adm'r, 234 Md. 402, 407, 199 A.2d 620, 623 (1964).

The duty to maintain these areas in a reasonably safe condition extends not only to the tenant but "includes the members of his family, his guests, his invitees, and others on the land in the right of the tenant." Landay v. Cohn, 220 Md. 24, 27, 150 A.2d 739, 741 (1959). "It has been held that a child on the land at the invitation of the child of the tenant is entitled to the benefit of the landlord's obligation in this respect." Landay v. Cohn, supra, 220 Md. at 27-28, 150 A.2d at 741.

http://dogbitelaw.com/one-bite-state/maryland-dog-bite-law

Expert:  Ray replied 11 months ago.

If you can leave a positive rating when we are done it is always much appreciated.

Expert:  Ray replied 11 months ago.

Let me know if you have more, liability of both dog owners and landlord here is clear under the law above.

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