Society

Dog Attack: Pit Bulls Killed West Virginia Man, State Supreme Court Weighs Liability of County and Animal Control Officials

| by Phyllis M Daugherty
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The West Virginia state Supreme Court has been asked to decide whether the Monroe County Commission and a dog warden are responsible for the 2009 death of a man who was attacked by neighborhood dogs.

Judges heard arguments last week in an appeal by Dreama Bowden, a Linside woman whose husband died a week after an attack by Pit Bulls known to be a menace in the community, reports the Insurance Journal, on September 9.

Bowden is appealing the Monroe County Circuit Court ruling as reported in the State journal, that Bowden “failed to make a valid claim that the Monroe County Commission and others were not immune from liability under state law.”

Bowden alleges wrongful death and the failure of the commission and dog warden Patricia Green to collect taxes on [license] the pit bulls.

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Her complaint also says Green failed to patrol the county and seize dogs that didn’t have a valid registration tag, the Insurance Journal reports..

Lowell Bowden was taking his daily walk on November.27, 2009, when he was attacked by several Pit Bulls that were running loose.

The complaint said the county had been contacted previously about “a pack of wild and vicious pit bulls terrorizing their neighborhood in Monroe County.” Green told the family she would “take care of” the problem" and an unspecified citation was issued to the dogs’ owners.

The complaint said conversations with Green “surely would rise to lull Mr. Bowden into a false sense of security or induce him to relax vigilance or forego other avenues of protection.”

The complaint also said the commission and Green were expected to exercise their law-enforcement duties.

The commission and other defendants said they were immune under the West Virginia Governmental Tort Claims and Insurance Reform Act and the state public-duty doctrine.

Bowden’s complaint said the act has exceptions for negligence, but commission attorney Wendy Greve contended the negligence claims were futile.

Sources: Insurance Journal