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Tierney v Barber, Queen's Bench Division, 19 February 2001

19 February 2001
The issues

Liability Of Dog Owner For Dog On Road

The facts

Claimant motorcyclist was seriously injured when his motorcycle collided with the Defendant’s dog. The Defendant lived close to the site of the accident and as a result of a previous escape by the dog he added wire netting to the gate and fencing.

The dog was chained whilst no one was with her and only unchained if an adult was present. However, on the day of the accident the dog escaped and crossed the road. It was on the way back that she collided with the motorcyclist and the dog was killed. Witnesses has seen the motorcyclist accelerate from roadworks previously at high speed and pulling a “wheeley” in the process immediately prior to the accident. The Claimant suffered personal injury and sued Defendant dog owner.

The decision

It was reasonably foreseeable that damage or injury was likely to result if the dog escaped.

Although the Defendant had a system for securing the dog the system was insufficient to contain a dog “determined to escape”.

The Claimant has acted in a reckless manner a very short time before the accident. The preferred expert evidence however was that both wheels had been in contact with the ground at the time of impact. Moreover the evidence was such that even if the Claimant had been travelling within the temporary speed limit of 20 mph rather than the 60 mph he was actually going at he would have been able to anticipate the impact with the dog or to take avoiding action.

Defendant had not called any evidence to show that the Claimant’s injuries were worse due to the speed of the impact. The Defendant was negligent and there would be no deduction for contributory negligence.

(This seems a monstrous decision).

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