Pet Personal Injury

Pet Personal Injury:  Unexpected, vicious attacks by household pets

Pet Personal Injury, Part I

pet personal injury

Pet Personal Injury 1 | Savage Swam Suit

Swans have a seemingly calm demeanor, and their monogamous mating habits have long made them a symbol of lasting love. But the creatures are territorial and can be quite aggressive when threatened.  Although this aggression helps to keep geese away, it can also cause tragedy.

A pet personal injury and wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of a man who was attacked by a swan.

A condominium association for a complex contracted a company to keep the geese away from the area.  The method they used to keep the geese away was to bring a swan into a nearby pond.  Anthony Hensley was responsible for two swans at the Bay Colony Drive condo complex near Des Plaines.

Amy Hensley, the wife of the victim, filed a lawsuit in April, claiming the attack caused the drowning of her husband.  She also contends that the defendants “knew or should have known that mute swans are strongly territorial with a dangerous propensity to attack.”

On the day of the attack, Hensley thought it would be a normal day at work.  One of the swans, which were supposed to help him keep the geese away, swam at Hensley’s kayak and caused him to roll off the vessel.  Hensley was wearing boots and heavy clothing, which made it nearly impossible for him to tread water.  He died trying to swim back to the shore.

“They probably thought that he was going too close to their eggs, and they were too scared, and they just attacked him,” eyewitness Daniel Gamanov said.

Anthony Hensley leaves behind a wife and two young children.  “He’s going to be remembered as one of the most wonderful fathers in the world,” said Hensley’s brother-in-law, Tony Macri. “A very good father, a very good husband; there wasn’t a mean bone in his body.”

“Maybe he didn’t want to hurt the animal,” Hensley’s father-in-law, George Koutsogiannis, told the Sun-Times. “Maybe he didn’t fight back enough when the swan attacked him….I can’t understand how this was possible.”

The suit says that the birds are also highly aggressive and “attack by smashing at their victims with bony spurs in the wings, accompanied by biting with their large bill,” the suit says.

The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court claims the swan attack caused the drowning of Anthony Hensley of Villa Park. It names Bay Colony Drive condo complex, Hillcrest Property Management and Hensley’s employer Knox Swan and Dog, LLC.

Ms Hensley’s attorney pointed to the Tribune Illinois’ Animal Control Act which says the owner of an animal that attacks a can be held liable for damages in certain circumstances.

The amount of damages the woman is seeking is not known.  When someone has suffered a pet personal injury in an animal attack, the owner of the animal can be held liable for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages. Therefore, it is likely she will have several claims to her lawsuit.  While most people would not likely think that swans are unsafe, this case tragically shows us that they can be dangerous.

pet personal injury

Pet Personal Injury 2 | Killer Cat Attack

The domestic cat is a small, furry, domesticated animal that humans keep for companionship.   Most domesticated cats do not display aggressive behavior, however personality traits are as varied in cats as they are in people.  Although most do not, some cats show a propensity towards aggression.

A Homer Glen man is reportedly suing a woman in a pet personal injury case for $100,000 after her cat allegedly attacked him while he was cat-sitting.  He stated that the cat “viciously attacked, bit and clawed” him when he tried to feed it.

Baxter, of Homer Glen, Ill., was watching the cat in his home for friend Christine Bobak on April 11, 2011. Baxter says he suffered injuries from a bite on his finger and clawing on his arm. Claiming the attack was unprovoked, he filed suit against Bobak and is seeking $100,000.  According to the suit, Baxter was attempting to feed the cat when the feline, “without provocation, viciously attacked, bit and clawed.”  The suit also said that Baxter “will in the future continue to suffer.”

pet personal injury

Pet Personal Injury 3 | Dangerous Duck

This is quite a unique pet personal injury story.

62 year old Cynthia Ruddell was vising her mother in Oregon.  Ruddell states that while on her mother’s property, a neighbor’s pet duck ambushed her.  She claims that she was minding her own business and the attack was unprovoked.

As the duck attacked Ruddell, she attempted to run away.  While doing so, she fell to the ground.  She broke her right wrist, and sprained an elbow and should as a result of the fall.

Rose is accused of negligence for failing to maintain proper control of the duck, failing to warn neighbors of the duck’s “dangerous propensity in attacking individuals,” failing to contain the duck on her property and needlessly endangering the public.

“To use a sports metaphor, this is a slam dunk case in which liability is admitted and my client suffered a significant, objectively verifiable injury.  I believe we have an excellent chance of resolving this claim with the insurance company without any further litigation once my client concludes treatment,” he added. “A settlement will not result in any personal liability for Mrs. Rose, but will be paid entirely by her insurance company under her homeowner’s policy.”  Gregory Price, Attorney of Ruddell

Ruddell, a retired nurse, is seeking up to $275,000 in damages, including roughly $25,000 for medical expenses, with the remainder being for pain, suffering and the toll her injuries have taken on her daily life.

Price said he expects the damages will ultimately be paid by Rose’s insurance policy, but filing a lawsuit was necessary as a precaution because of continuing medical bills from a second surgery on his client’s wrist and a two-year statute of limitations on such claims.

Along with the lingering effects of the attack, the legal case has brought Ruddell a measure of unwanted attention, her attorney said.  “I’ve learned a lesson,” he said. “In any future lawsuit I’ll talk about my client being attacked by a domestic animal. Not by a duck.”

pet personal injury

Pet Personal Injury 4 | Snake Strangles During Sleep

The story of Noah and Connor Barthe is the saddest of all the pet personal injury stories.  Like all pythons, the African rock python is non-venomous and kills its prey by constriction.  The African python is Africa’s largest snake and one of the five largest snakes in the world.  African Pythons can grow up to 20 feet in length.  It has two subspecies: one found in Central and Western Africa, the other in Southern Africa.  So, you would think that the odds of anyone encountering an African python in North America would be fairly unlikely.  Think again.

4 year old Noah and 7 year old Connor had birthdays coming up.  To celebrate, they spent an afternoon playing in a pool, shopping for treats and playing with animals at the farm of a family friend. They even got to steer a tractor, said their great-uncle, Dave Rose.

“That’s the type of life they had, and that’s what we’re going to try to remember,” Rose told reporters Tuesday in Campbellton, New Brunswick.

That night the two young boys slept at the apartment of a family friend.  The apartment was located above an exotic pet store.  While the two young brothers were sleeping a large python squeezed the life out of them in the dead of night.  Connor and Noah were strangled in the predawn hours when a 100-pound African rock python escaped from its enclosure in the pet shop below, slid through the ventilation system and fell through the ceiling into the room where the boys were sleeping.  The pet shop was owned by the friend who owned the apartment.

The pet store owner, Jean-Claude Savoie, told the Global News television station that he didn’t hear a sound and discovered the “horrific scene” when he went into his living room on Monday morning.

“I can’t believe this is real,” Savoie said.

An autopsy revealed that the boys were suffocated to death.  “It’s very, very unusual and very tragic and difficult for everyone involved,” said a police officer.

Want to year more from pet personal injury Lawyer, John Fox?  Watch him on YouTube.


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