BURLINGTON, ALAMANCE COUNTY NC - A SUIT HAS BEEN FILED BY JOHN RICHARDSON AFTER A NEIGHBOR'S PIT BULL JUMPED A FENCE AND CAME ONTO HIS PROPERTY AND CHEWED ON HIS ARM
According to the suit filed in Alamance County Superior Court, John Richardson suffered a terrible injury when his neighbor’s PIT BULL came onto his property and tore a hole in his arm.
“These are great dogs 99 percent of the time,” said Richardson’s Greensboro lawyer James Roane III, “but they’re the only dog that’s going to try to eat you.”
Richardson is suing Vicky Kincer, his neighbor on Glen Raven Road in west Burlington, and her landlord, P and J Properties I LLC, with offices in Gibsonville. According to the suit filed July 7, Kincer’s pit bull Nova jumped a fence and “literally chewed on Plaintiff’s arm causing severe mutilation.”
A photo included in the suit as evidence appears to show a man’s left arm with a gaping wound showing bone going from wrist past mid-forearm.
Roane is not new to dog-attack cases. He said he has andled about four in the past year, and has two going now, including Richardson’s. They almost always involve pit bulls. While pit bulls don’t seem to bite as often as breeds like cocker spaniels, when they do, it’s not just a bite, but a mauling.
“I’ve seen some terrible cases,” Roane said.
To win these cases, he said, he has to prove ownership of the dog and that the owner should have known the dog was dangerous, which can be done in two ways.
First, there are breeds considered dangerous in case law, including pit bulls and Rottweilers, Roane said. Second, there can be a past instance of aggressive behavior, like aggressive growling and barking, or killing another animal off the owner’s property.
The suit alleges the pit bull Nova and Kincer’s two other dogs once killed and ate a deer.
Richardson is seeking $25,000 or more in damages with interest and legal fees, according to the suit, on the grounds the defendants should have known the dog was dangerous and the fence was not adequate.
These cases usually end up being settled out of court with an owner’s insurance, Roane said, which usually takes about a year and a half. It gets tricky with renters, though, because they don’t always have insurance like homeowners. A landlord’s liability is not always easy to establish since he or she doesn't own the dog, but under case law, the landlord can be held liable depending on the conditions in the lease.
Jimmy Huffines Sr., registered agent of P and J Properties I, said he had not been aware of the suit, but does require tenants to have their own insurance if they are going to have pets, and he specifically said the company required Kincer to get insurance once it learned of hers.
“We don’t accept pets unless they have an insurance policy,” Huffines said.
The Times-News was not able to reach Kincer by phone Wednesday.