Second Bite = Liability
Wayne County, NC - A man mauled by a pit bull two years ago has sued a Wayne County business owner, saying he did not do enough to prevent the animal from attacking him. Joseph Ingram filed suit against George Robert "Bobby" Denning, alleging that the dog ran from a property managed by Denning into the plaintiff's yard, charged him, and bit him. The suit also names other defendants, including Johnnie McKoy and as many as five "John Does."
McKoy and the five "John Does" were as of March 19, 2007, the "owners, keepers and/or 'harborers" of the dog. According to the lawsuit, McKoy and other homeowners constructed only a three-foot-tall fence on one side of the home to restrain the dog. The suit alleges the dog had already attacked another person (using up its "one free bite") and had been designated a "dangerous dog," (indicating a significant attack) by Wayne County Animal Control for a previous incident.
The lawsuit says the dog bit Ingram's hand hard enough to break a bone and then bit him on the chest, resulting in "disfiguring lacerations requiring hospitalization and surgery." Ingram did nothing to provoke the animal, the suit claims. It also says he suffered permanent scarring, medical expenses and loss of earnings. The lawsuit seeks $10,000 or more for each of the seven types of alleged impairments to Ingram (which we presume to mean $70,000+ total).
Note: North Carolina likely has a 2-year statute of limitations, which is why the case was recently filed. Victims are usually advised to not file a claim prior to complete healing, so that full medical costs can be determined. If healing time is expected to go beyond two years, the victim must still abide by the filing limit. North Carolina's dog bite statute is described as, "worse for dog bite victims than anything dreamed up by English judges in the 17th and 18th centuries."
We'll keep our fingers crossed for Joseph Ingram.