What Happens When an Owner Refuses To Rehome a Dog That Bites?
In the summer of 2019, an owner in the Parkview at Orion Commons Condominium Association chatted with his neighbor about the owner’s concerns regarding the long grass in the common area behind their properties. The owner and his wife worried that it was hospitable to snakes, rodents, and ticks that might enter their yard where their four small children play. The owner offered to mow the grass in the area while doing his own yard on his riding mower, and the neighbor agreed.
While mowing the area one day, the owner paused outside his neighbor’s yard to engage in small talk. As he was sitting on his mower, one of the neighbor’s dogs, a pit bull, bit his arm, leaving puncture wounds. The next day, the neighbor indicated he’d find a new home for the dog.
“But it turned into ‘I’m not going to remove my dog,’” says Joe Wloszek, who represents the association and is a member of Hirzel Law, PLC, a Michigan-based firm that works with community associations.
“The association sent a demand letter saying the dog’s owner had to remove the dog, or it would pursue litigation. It could have ended there; instead, the owner decided to fight it tooth and nail. To protect the community and avoid potential liability down the road — because the association was put on notice by the bite — the decision was made to pursue the case.”
Specifically, the association went to court to obtain an order requiring removal of the dog.
Learn how it all shook out in court, along with some tips for managing similarly tense, high-stakes situations: