Piggie Bit Kid,Sues YMCA, Gets Nothing Says Court



Gruber v. YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, — N.E.3d —-2015 WL 3534886 (Ind. Ct. App. 2015). An eleven-year-old boy was at a YMCA camp when a pig—which had never injured anyone or exhibited any dangerous propensities—stuck its head between the bars of its pen and grabbed the boy’s hand, causing injuries. The boy and his mother sued the camp, and the lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the camp. On appeal, the boy and his mother asked the court to change the standard for liability of owners of domestic animals to that of strict liability when the animal was not a cat or dog.

Since the Indiana Supreme Court precedent was clear that this general rule applied to all domestic animals—and not just cats and dogs—the court refused to alter the standard. The trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the camp was therefore affirmed.

PD Note: Here is part of what the high court stated:

“This is because our Supreme Court has made clear that this rule applies to all domestic animals, not just cats and dogs. See Poznanski, 788 N.E.2d at 1259 (“Owners of domestic animals may also be held liable for harm caused by their pet but only if the owner knows or has reason to know that the animal has dangerous propensities.”(emphases added)); see also Einhorn v. Johnson, 996 N.E.2d 823, 831 (Ind.Ct.App.2013) (noting that horses are domestic animals and that owners of domestic animals are not liable for injuries caused by the animal unless the animal had dangerous propensities known, or which should have been known, to the owner), reh’g denied, trans. denied .Because the plaintiffs have put forth no convincing reason to impose strict liability on owners of domestic animals that are not cats or dogs, we affirm the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the YMCA defendants.

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California is a strict liability state in regard to dogs harming people, however that will not mean one cannot mount a defense (it is possible depending on the facts.)

State v. Blatt,  — S.E.2d —- 2015 WL 3822761 (W. Va.  2015). The Circuit Court of Wayne County ordered that Tinkerbell, a female pit bull terrier, be destroyed pursuant to West Virginia’s vicious dog statute, after she injured a neighbor child who was playing in the dog’s yard. The circuit court’s decision ordering that Tinkerbell be destroyed relied on a presumption that pit bull dog breeds are inherently vicious.

Because extensive debate exists, the court concluded that courts may not, upon judicial notice, rely solely upon a breed-specific presumption in ordering the destruction of a dog pursuant to West Virginia’s vicious dog statute. In the absence of a breed-specific presumption, the court determined that neither the remaining findings of fact in the circuit court’s destruction order nor the facts presented in the record provided satisfactory proof that Tinkerbell must be euthanized. Consequently, the court reversed the circuit court’s destruction order.

Swilley v. State, — S.W.3d —- 2015 WL 3637850 (Tex. App. 2015). In the indictment, the State alleged Appellant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly tortured or in a cruel manner killed or caused serious bodily injury to an animal by shooting a dog with a crossbow, a state jail felony. The dog in question was a stray, which fell within the statutory definition of an “animal.” After a jury found Appellant guilty, the trial court assessed his punishment at two years’ confinement in a state jail. On appeal, Appellant contended that the trial court erred by denying his motion for a mistrial after the jury heard evidence of an extraneous offense also involving cruelty to animals. Since the video that mentioned the extraneous offense was admitted without objection, the court held the Appellant waived the error and the trial court did not err by denying Appellant’s motion for mistrial or by giving the instruction to disregard and overrule Appellant’s first issue. Additionally, the court held the evidence was sufficient for a rational trier of fact to have found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Appellant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly tortured or in a cruel manner killed or caused serious bodily injury to an animal by shooting it with a crossbow