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Dog ownership is a source of joy to many, but it is not free from legal responsibilities and a failure to keep your pet under control can have grave consequences. In one case, a woman was ordered to pay substantial damages to a dog walker who was attacked by her nine-stone Rottweiler.
The man had bravely intervened after he heard screaming and saw a much smaller dog hanging, apparently lifeless, from the Rottweiler's jaws. The latter lunged at him and, after it slipped its collar, the man had to grapple the snapping and snarling dog into a headlock. He was fortunate to escape being bitten, but suffered injuries to his shoulder that required extensive surgery and interfered with his work.
In finding the woman liable to pay full compensation, a judge rejected claims that her Rottweiler had been playing with the smaller dog and intended it no harm. She had been thrown into a state of abject panic by her inability to control her pet, which had held the smaller dog in its mouth for about two and a half minutes.
Due to the Rottweiler's lack of training, it should not have been allowed off the lead and the woman, who had been unable to make it respond to her commands, had been negligent in failing to bring it under control. The amount of the man's compensation has yet to be assessed, but his lawyers have valued his claim at up to £100,000.