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Harris v. Anderson County Sheriff’s Office

South Carolina Supreme Court
673 S.E.2d 423 (2009)


A sheriff’s deputy kenneled his police dog at a veterinary clinic while on vacation. Both the deputy and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office (defendant) knew the dog had a recent history of multiple unprovoked attacks. The dog attacked and severely injured veterinary assistant Jennifer Harris (plaintiff), who worked at the clinic. Harris sued the sheriff’s office under South Carolina’s dog-bite statute, which provides that a dog owner or other person who keeps or takes care of a dog is strictly liable for any unprovoked bites. The trial court granted summary judgment for the sheriff’s office, reasoning that when a dog is left in another person’s care or keeping, only that other person—not the dog owner—could be held strictly liable under the statute. Harris appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kittredge, J.)

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