Dog Bite/Strict Liability-Animal Control Act

Style of Case: JoJo Becker, a Minor, by and through her Mother and Next Friend, Jody Becker v. George J. Buhr and Dorothy Buhr
Client:    George and Dorothy Buhr
Trial End Date:   3/22/2004
Court:    St. Clair County Circuit Court, Belleville, Illinois
Type of Case:    Dog Bite/Strict Liability-Animal Control Act
Judge:    The Honorable Jan V. Fiss
Reed Armstrong Lawyer who tried the case:  William B. Starnes II
Jury Verdict

Minor Plaintiff claimed defendant’s Brittany Spaniel attacked and bit plaintiff on property where plaintiff lived when she was 9 years old in 1996 causing 3 permanent facial lacerations. Plaintiff’s Mother claimed she heard scream and saw daughter on ground and dog running back toward defendants house with dog chain in tow. Both claim step-father/ex-husband picked plaintiff up off the ground. Defendants claimed dog was still on his chain on their property when they arrived home to find message on answering machine that their dog had been involved in a dog bite.

Step-Father/ex-husband testified he heard the scream and proceeded toward it. When he first saw minor plaintiff 15 seconds later, she was 50-75 feet away from and running away from defendant’s property line. Defendant’s dog was in his usual area where he was usually chained although the witness did not recall if he saw him chained. The minor plaintiff confided with him days after the incident that it occurred in the dog’s territory.

Last Demand:    $100,000.00
Verdict:    Defense Verdict (jury deliberated five hours)