Hennepin County District Court File No. PI-03-14652.
Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge, Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Dietzen, Judge.
A dog groomer, who voluntarily accepts temporary responsibility for care of a dog and exhibits basic attributes of ownership, is the keeper of the dog for purposes of secondary ownership under Minn. Stat. § 347.22 (2004), the dog-bite statute.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gordon W. Shumaker, Judge
Appellant sued respondent for damages because of injuries she suffered from being bitten while grooming respondent's dog, claiming strict liability under Minn. Stat. § 347.22 (2004), the dog-bite statute. The district court granted respondent's summary judgment motion, dismissing appellant's complaint with prejudice. This appeal followed.
Because appellant was the keeper of respondent's dog for purposes of secondary ownership under the dog-bite statute, the statute does not permit her to bring an action against respondent, the primary legal owner of the dog. We affirm.
Respondent Edward Friday is the owner of two German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mixed-breed dogs named Lady and Lucky. In January 2002, Friday first employed Hot Dogs Groomery to bathe his dogs and cut their nails. In March 2002, appellant Jaclyn Marie Carlson (n/k/a Jaclyn Marie Gilbert) began working as an independent contractor, grooming dogs at Hot Dogs. As part of her three-month dog-grooming training, Carlson learned to keep dogs from running loose and disrupting other dogs and how to muzzle a dog whenever it showed signs of aggression. She also learned to contact or transport a dog to a local veterinarian if it ever required medical attention.
In June 2002, Friday returned to Hot Dogs with his two dogs to have them bathed and their nails cut, this time by Carlson. Upon their arrival, Carlson kenneled Friday's dogs while she finished grooming another dog. After finishing with the other dog, Carlson led Lucky from his kennel to the bathing area. Carlson bathed Lucky and then placed him on a grooming cart where she dried him with a towel. Lucky seemed to enjoy the service, but as Carlson began pulling the cart toward the drying area, he suddenly bit her on her face. The wounds to Carlson's face required extensive stitching and left two visible scars.
Minn. Stat. § 347.22 (2004), the dog-bite statute, contemplates two to three parties to a dog-bite action: the victim, the primary legal owner of the dog, and sometimes a secondary owner who is "harboring" or "keeping" the dog. The statute prohibits secondary owners from maintaining actions against non-negligent primary legal owners. Was ...