In a case that recently came before the High Court in Cork Ms. May Rea sued her neighbours for personal injuries loss and damage caused to her when she was attacked by their two Rottweilers dogs.

Liability was admitted on behalf of the Defendants and the case before the Court was to assess the appropriate amount of damages to be paid to the Plaintiff.

 Ms Justice Murphy in High Court in Cork the 12th of October, 2018 assessed damages of more than €179,000 to Ms. May Rea, the Plaintiff for injuries to her right hand and psychological trauma sustained by her as a result of the attack.   The incident happened on the 15th July, 2012 when the two Rottweilers, owned by Michael and Mary Daly, escaped from their pen.    The Plaintiff in her evidence to the court recounted that she was suffering from nightmares since the incident and she testified that, “I was having flashbacks and nightmares of the dog holding my left wrist in his mouth. I thought I was going to die or lose my hand in his mouth.”

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy was horrified by the attack and when assessing damages referred to a single piece of physical evidence from the incident which was the mobile phone that was in the Plaintiff’s pocket. The phone had been left with puncture marks on the screen where one dog had bitten through the screen and had been partly dismantled by the power of the bite.

The Defendants represented themselves in Court.   Mrs Daly stated that they were not at home at the time of the incident and that they got a call to the effect that the dogs had broken out of their pen. The dogs were subsequently put down by the vet. Mrs Daly also testified that the dogs were never out on the road and must have broken out of their pen.

In a series of recent cases to come before the Courts, monetary awards of a significant value have been awarded to victims of dog attacks.

Mr. James McCreary, a postman from Rush in Dublin who was savagely attacked by a German Shepherd dog was awarded a sum of €103,000 in damages at the High Court on the 1st March, 2017. He suffered three permanent scars on his leg and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder since his attached.  He told the Court that he feared for his life during the attack.

A fifteen year old school boy was awarded €32,000.00 in the Circuit Civil Court in November, 2017 as a result of being bitten on the face by a neighbour’s dog while playing with the dog at the neighbours’ house. He sustained a significant laceration to the bridge of his nose, a puncture wound to his lower lip and a chip fracture to one of his upper teeth.

Dog Owners owe a duty of care to member of the public both at common law and under Section 21 of the Control of Dogs Act, 1986.   They are obliged under law to exercise adequate control over their dogs, to adequately restrain their dogs, not to allow or permit their dogs to stray and to ensure that their dog is not a danger to members of the public. When dog owners breach these duties and personal injuries are caused to persons as a result of being attacked by a dog the injured party is entitled to sue the owner for their negligent acts and omissions.

Patricia Hynes is a Solicitor in the Litigation Department of FitzGerald Solicitor’s Cork and advises and represents clients in relation to all aspects of litigation, including, Personal Injuries Litigation and Medical Negligence Litigation.

Contact Patricia Hynes who advises in relation to Medical Negligence Litigation at FitzGerald Solicitors at 353 (0)21 4279800 if you would like more information.

In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.”

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