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Single, unprovoked attack does not lead to finding of negligence on part of dog’s owners

Violation of amended Dog Law does not automatically result in civil penalties, Allegheny judge rules

(10/18/2005) - Even though a single, unprovoked dog attack may result in a criminal offense under the state’s amended Dog Law, the animal’s owners are not civilly liable for a woman’s injuries, an Allegheny judge has ruled.

In Kormos v. Urban, Judge Cynthia A. Baldwin ruled on Sept. 15 rejected plaintiff’s argument on appeal that a violation of the state Dog Law lead to a finding of negligence. The judge determined that the plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence to establish that the defendants’ dog had a vicious propensity. “Nothing surrounding the passage of this amended Dog Law, nor in the amended language of the Dog Law, itself, changes the other necessary elements for this civil cause of action,” Baldwin wrote. “In this case, the Plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence to establish that Defendants’ dog had a vicious propensity. Plaintiff merely presented evidence that Rockefeller bit her. Except for that fact, the evidence of record reveals that this particular dog was not an aggressive domestic animal.”

A copy of the judge’s 9-pg. opinion is available free only to PaTLA members by choosing the Related File below.


Related Files

Kormos v. Urban

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