Lauth Investigations Case Evaluation: Fanged Fatale
The owner of the dog in question, referred to as the Subject, was living on a few acres of property surrounded by a decorative fence the Victim of the dog bite alleges was easy for the dog to have jumped over. The Victim in the case reported she often walked past the Subject’s property early in the morning, approximately six or seven times prior, where she often witnessed the dogs “going crazy in the yard,” but never observed one loose from the confines of the property fence.
On the day of the incident, the Victim observed the gate to the property closed and one of the Subject’s two dogs residing inside the fence, but not the other. As she continued down the road, the unaccounted-for dog caught her by surprise, biting her on her backside and her arm. The scuffle was soon broken up by Witness A, who approached in their vehicle and honked their horn, scaring off the attacking dog. Witness A then drove the Victim to her residence, where she called 911 and was escorted to the hospital by an ambulance.
Lauth Investigations International Inc. was retained by Client X to contact neighbors of the Subject and witnesses to the incident to uncover if the dogs had ever escaped the fence before. Lauth’s investigators began their investigation by taking note of the lay of the land—both at the scene of the attack and the nearby geography—noting the Victim’s property was only a little over a mile up the road from the Subject’s property, or a twenty-two minute walk.
Lauth contacted the local sheriff’s department to obtain the victim’s police report regarding the incident, and also obtained an additional report for a similar dog bite incident, naming another possible resident of Subject’s house.
Photos were taken by Lauth Investigators of the Subject’s fence around the property. The Investigator did not observe any reasonable means for a dog to escape the fence. The next day, the investigator met with the Subject, the owner of the dog. The Subject insisted her dogs, who have since been euthanized, were friendly animals with zero history of violence and no propensities for aggression.
The Investigator later spoke to the neighbor, Witness A, who saw the attack in-progress. He recalled the dog was “snarling and growling,” and could only report he saw the dog approach from the right side of the road, which is the side on which the Subject’s property is located. He had never seen the dogs before, as he did not travel along that road often.
Witness B lives two houses away from the Subject and told the Investigator, contrary to the Subject’s statements, the dogs were very aggressive, with the propensity for excessive barking, unfriendliness, and a habit of charging the fence from the residence when cars or pedestrians would pass. She also advised it was not uncommon for at least one dog to be loose. When a vehicle left the Subject’s property, the gate to the fence would open, and at least one dog would often follow the vehicle. The gate would close behind the vehicle, leaving the dog loose from the property. At least six other witnesses, including the victim’s daughter and a mail carrier, reported aggressive behavior from the dogs in recent memory. The Investigator did speak to one witness who helped raise both dogs from birth and had never witnessed any violent behavior from the dogs.
With witnesses to both the attack and aggressive behavior from the dogs, it was determined the Subject was negligent in keeping the dogs penned, despite numerous complaints for neighbors and passersby. Lauth Investigations has documented their testimony for litigative purposes, if any, in the future.