May 25, 2019
Find A Dog Bite Lawyer
A pit bull has become the center of a dangerous dog case in Ohio’s Supreme Court, according to Cincinnati.com of USA Today (https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/crime/crime-and-courts/2019/04/30/dangerous-dog-case-ohio-supreme-court-dog-bites-womans-hand/3628266002/).
Back in May 2016, a pit bull known as “Prince Bane” was accused of a biting the hand of a woman. Joseph Jones, who owns the dog in question, argued in court that his dog did not bite the woman, who lived in a shared apartment complex with Jones in Cincinnati when the incident happened. According to Jones, the woman–who was bit right outside of that shared complex–was instead attacked by a stray dog.
Despite his denials, the court found Jones guilty of not confining a dangerous dog. According to the court filings, the court reached this decision based on the fact that Prince Bane had bitten other people before. However, Jones appealed this decision, and his conviction was overturned by the appeals court because no one had ever formally designated Prince Bane as a “dangerous dog” in a formal court setting before.
Now, the Cincinnati City Solicitor’s Office is contesting the appeals court ruling in Ohio’s Supreme Court. According to the office, the laws of Ohio do not require that a dog be formally designated as “dangerous” before an owner is charged with failing to confine a dangerous animal.
At stake, in this case, is whether the victim whose hand was bitten will be able to receive any restitution for her injuries and other losses. The initial “failure to confine” conviction that Jones received is a misdemeanor in the fourth degree in Ohio. If he wins the appeal, however, this would be lowered to a minor misdemeanor, one that doesn’t allow a victim to receive any compensation related to the bite.
The office also argued that it would be impractical to notify every owner of a dangerous dog across Ohio, and that it had determined Jones should have kept Prince Bane on a leash because there was evidence that the dog had already bitten people and was trained to latch into a person and not let go.
Jones’ representation, in this case, disagrees with the office’s interpretation of the law. According to his attorney, Jones simply can’t be guilty of not confining his dangerous dog because his dog had not been previously labeled as a dangerous dog.
People are watching this case with interest as its outcome will likely have an impact on how dogs are labeled as dangerous and the liability of the owner in those types of cases. There is some concern that an outcome in Jones’ favor could effectively tie the hands of Ohio courts when it comes to cases of dogs who have attacked a person but have yet to be labeled as dangerous in a formal arena.
A dog can cause serious injuries to a person in a relatively short span of time, and these injuries can have consequences for victims over the long term. If you have been injured by a dog in Denver, CO, find a dog bite lawyer for help.
Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and dog bite injuries.