A young girl who was ferociously attacked by a Rottweiler that escaped from its owner and was roaming the streets has had a settlement agreement for €150,000 sanctioned by the High Court.
In approving the settlement, the Court heard how the defendant’s Rottweiler had escaped from his owner by jumping over a wall and was wandering the neighbourhood at the time of the incident.
The attack of the nine year old girl was considered by the High Court to be most violent and left the plaintiff with over twenty scars and requiring skin graft operations. The young girl has also suffered from nightmares and bouts of sleep walking since the attack which occurred four years ago. The girl took the action through her father claiming that the defendant had been negligent in failing to take proper measures to prevent the dog from escaping.
Owners of dogs are expected to take all reasonable care in ensuring that their animal does not escape and cause damage or harm to any other person.
The duty is provided for by legislation under the Control of Dogs Act 1986 which imposes strict liability on a dog owner for any attack committed.
In such cases it will not be a defence for the defendant to say that they did not know the dog had any vicious propensity, or to show that the dog never exhibited such propensity before.
However if the dog causes injury to a person who was trespassing on their owner’s land, they will only be liable for the damage in line with the law of negligence.
Therefore any dog-owners whose dog has a vicious propensity or those who have a guard dog would be advised to have a ‘Beware of Dog’ warning displayed prominently on their gates.