The O’Hara Law Firm recently settled a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who was bit by a dog at a Petco location. While serving as a paid volunteer for Rural Dog Rescue, Inc. aka Texas Boston Terrier Rescue, Plaintiff was a bit on the hand by a dog that Rural Dog Rescue knew had a history of biting. Rural Dog Rescue continues to run adoption events at PetsMart and Petco despite its history of violating Petco’s adoption and rescue organization policy.
Petco’s policy for adoption and rescue organizations states, “all pets showcased for adoption should be evaluated to be of sound temperament, friendly and able to adapt to the busy environment of the store…Household pets, mascots, animals not ready for, or too young to be adopted should not be in the store.” Thus, rescue organizations are prohibited from bringing aggressive dogs to Petco stores. On two separate occasions before the Plaintiff was a bit, a Petco manager warned Texas Boston Terrier Rescue and the executive director of the organization, Judith Robertson, to remove aggressive dogs from one of its stores. Ignoring the prior two warnings, the rescue organization founder sent an aggressive dog that had even bit her in the past to the Petco location where Plaintiff was volunteering. Without warning, the dog bit Plaintiff while she was holding it. Plaintiff notified Petco management and Rural Dog Rescue on the date she was injured.
Plaintiff asked Rural Dog Rescue to reimburse her for her medical bills, but Rural Dog Rescue refused to reimburse Plaintiff for all of her medical care. Plaintiff hired the O’Hara Law Firm after Rural Dog Rescue refused to do the right thing and pay her medical bills. The O’Hara Law Firm filed a lawsuit against the Defendants: Petco, Rural Dog Rescue, Inc., and Judith Robertson (Executive Director of Rural Dog Rescue, Inc.).
Judge Awards Costs and Attorneys’ Fees Against Dog Rescue Founder for Her Conduct
Instead of admitting fault and doing the right thing, Judith Robertson made false allegations against the Plaintiff in Court pleadings. She falsely accused the Plaintiff of crimes including illegally selling prescription medications and Medicare fraud. The defendant also attempted to hide information during the discovery phase of the litigation. After a Motion to Compel was filed and she would have to face the judge for her conduct, the defendant produced the requested documentation prior to the court date. Eventually, Judith Robertson and Rural Dog Rescue were ordered by the judge to pay costs and attorney’s fees for filing baseless causes of action. After months of litigation, Plaintiff received compensation for her injuries and settled with all the Defendants.
Petco management became aware of the incident and policy violation, yet Petco continues to allow Rural Dog Rescue aka Texas Boston Terrier Rescue to run adoption events at its stores. A willful, blatant violation of Petco’s policy that resulted in physical injury to a person has not prevented Texas Boston Terrier Rescue from continuing to run events at Petco’s stores.
Steps to take if bitten at a pet store
If you are bitten at a pet store, please gather the following information:
- Dog owner’s name, telephone, and address;
- Dog’s name and description of dog;
- Name and telephone number of any witnesses to the attack; and
- Name of store manager on duty at the time of the attack.
Report the incident to a store manager and have an incident report made. If you require immediate medical attention, notify management before leaving and return to the store to make a report after receiving medical attention. When receiving medical care, notify the treating physician of the location of the incident and how the dog bite occurred. Often dog owners will pressure the victims to not name the owner of the dog or location in order to avoid quarantine and other legal ramifications. Do not comply with the dog owner’s request. If you claim to your medical providers that you do not know who owned the dog, this statement may be used against you if you seek compensation in the future from the dog owner’s insurance.
If you have been injured by a dog, contact The O’Hara Law Firm for a free consultation. Patrick O’Hara is a dog bite attorney that handles dog bite claims in Houston, Baytown, Humble, Spring, Cypress, Jersey Village, Bellaire, and other surrounding areas. The O’Hara Law Firm represents clients on a contingency fee basis. Call us at 832-956-1138.