UNITED KINGDOM -- The owner of a vicious, out-of-control Rottweiler could have to pay up to £100,000 in damages to a Good Samaritan who rushed in to save a small dog being attacked, but sustained injuries while tackling the Rottweiler.
Peter Viner intervened when he heard “panic screams” as he walked his Weimaraner, Saks, near Beckenham’s Bethlem Royal Hospital in February 2012.
The 47-year-old encountered a scene of “mayhem” in which two women were screaming uncontrollably while burly Rottweiler, Buddy, dangled a “Chihuahua-sized dog” from his mouth.
One of the women, Christine Glover, was the Rottweiler’s owner, while the other was a professional dog walker in charge of the smaller pet - a griffon named Dylan.
Mr Viner told Central London County Court Dylan was “hanging limply from the Rottweiler’s mouth” and appeared to be already dead.
He was stepping forward to offer the dog walker his help, when Buddy suddenly dropped Dylan and turned to Mr Viner.
The softly-spoken cabinet maker said he was forced to defend himself as Buddy “lunged” forward, and he initially tried to restrain the dog by the collar.
But Buddy, who was already off the lead, managed to slip his collar, leaving Mr Viner with a desperate struggle on his hands.
“Buddy was snapping and snarling but Mr Viner managed to get him in a headlock - using both hands - during which Buddy kept struggling,” said Judge Heather Baucher.
“Mr Viner was then able to get the dog to the ground by using his body weight, controlling him sufficiently so that Mrs Glover could put a collar and lead back on Buddy, and get him back under control,” she added.
“It was only by sheer good fortune that he wasn’t bitten.”
Mr Viner needed extensive surgery after his shoulder was badly damaged in the canine tussle and has now won the right to full compensation from Mrs Glover.
Judge Heather Baucher said the dog owner, from Beckenham, was negligent in allowing the inadequately-trained Buddy to run free off the lead.
Mrs Glover had insisted that Buddy was only “playing” with Dylan when he picked him up in his mouth by the neck.
She had seen the gentle giant carrying her cat and other small dogs in the same way without ill effect, she told the judge.
Buddy dropped Dylan when Mr Viner appeared, and had been provoked by Saks’s belligerence. She claimed The rottweiler was “never aggressive” and Mr Viner brought trouble on himself by interfering and grabbing hold of his collar.
Caroline McColgan, for Mrs Glover, said that, had Buddy really taken against Dylan, he could have “chomped down on him like mincemeat”.
The little griffon had in fact emerged from his encounter with Buddy without serious injury, the court heard.
But Judge Baucher, ruling against Mrs Glover, said she had been in “a state of abject panic” because she couldn’t control her dog.
Buddy held Dylan in his mouth for around two and a half minutes and the dog walker feared her charge was dead.
Mrs Glover should have ensured Buddy was on a lead when he approached Dylan in the first place, said the judge.
“For two and a half minutes she was negligent in not controlling her dog, she couldn’t get him to respond to her commands.
“She was negligent in allowing her dog to run free when he wasn’t sufficiently trained to respond to her commands,” the judge added.
Mrs Glover was only “galvanised” into action when she slipped the collar back on Buddy.
And Saks, who had undergone rigorous training through “Bark Busters”, had been well behaved throughout.
The judge’s ruling means that Mr Viner, of Tatsfield, Westerham, Kent, is entitled to compensation for his pain and suffering and financial losses.
The exact amount of his payout has yet to be assessed but his lawyers confirmed outside court that he is claiming up to £100,000.
(Mirror UK - Jan 25, 2017)