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Dog Bite Law - The Diane Whipple Case - Research Paper Example

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Donna Purcell Order 542893 02 June 2011 Dog Bite Law: The Diane Whipple Case The Case: On January 26, 2001, around 4:00 p.m. San Francisco paramedics and police were called to the Pacific Heights apartment building. They shockingly found a naked woman in a pool of blood, clinging to life, and her body bitten everywhere…
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Download file to see previous pages No one else was seen in the immediate area. The victim was Diane Whipple, a lacrosse coach, who lived in an apartment a short distance from the apartment where the dogs lived. San Francisco General Hospital pronounced Diane Whipple dead at 8:55 p.m. that night. Bane and Hera, the Presa Canario dogs that savagely killed Whipple were originally bred for fighting, guarding and herding in the Canary Islands. The breed, being almost extinct in the 1950s, was mixed with mastiffs and others and reintroduced in the US in the 90s. The dogs were obtained through a website called “Dog-o’-War.” The dogs lived inside the apartment of Robert Edward Noel, Attorney-at-law and Marjorie F. Knoller, Attorney-at-Law, his wife. The Suit: Sharon Smith, Diane Whipple’s life partner, filed a wrongful death suite against the dogs’ owners on March 12, 2001. The criminal law applicable to the case against Noel was Death caused by a mischievous animal and involuntary manslaughter. And the criminal law applicable to Knoller was death caused by mischievous animal, involuntary manslaughter, and second-degree murder. The basis for the charges and recovery against Noel and Knoller were formed from three theories of California law. In the state of California the owner of the dog is liable for dog bit injuries unless the victim was a trespasser on the property or provoked the dog. Noel and Knoller claimed that they were not owners of the dogs but “trustees.” This indicated they intended to defend themselves against a civil suit on the grounds that they were not the owners. They were also subject to either one or both of the defendants being negligent in handling of the dogs. The final basis of recovery was common law and liability for keeping a dog that has dangerous tendencies. If Noel and Knoller had known that the dogs Bane and Hera had dangerous traits to kill and attack a person, then both could be held accountable. In any dog bite case, possible civil defendants can include owners and caretakers of the dog, the landlord and property manager where the dogs resided, the breeder, trainers and even others. The legal basis for all civil claims is negligence. In order for landlords and property managers to be held accountable, they would need to have actual knowledge that the dogs had bitten another person or exhibited dangerous tendencies. Since Whipple died the legal coarse of action is for “wrongful death.” Whoever can inherit your property if you die without a will can also sue for your wrongful death. Sharon Smith and Edythe Pamela Whipple-Kelly filed wrongful death suits against the dog’s owners and against the owner and property manager of the apartment building where the dogs lived. The value of the case is based on the value of the person’s life and their relation to the person suing. Therefore, it is very hard to establish a rule on potential damages. The Prosecutor’s Case: The belief that the breed Presa Canario dogs are dangerous was the basis for the prosecutions case. Noel and Knoller were fully aware that these particular dogs had bitten people and animals, but neither took precautions to protect someone like Whipple. A witness, Neil Bardack, testified that Knoller knew she could not control the dogs, as he had seen the dogs dragging her down the street in the past. There were other witnesses that testified the dogs had previously attacked them or shown extreme aggression. It was determined that Noel and Knoller ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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