Frost V Sullivan Case Study

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Brown will likely prevail in establishing that Mrs. Sullivan “owned” the dog as defined under the Illinois Animal Control Act (the Act), and is thus liable for damages for the injuries Brown sustained. The Act defines an “owner” as “any person having a right of property in a dog…or who keeps or harbors a dog…or who has it in his care, or acts as its custodian”. 510 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/2.16 (LexisNexis, Lexis Advance through P.A. 99-608, except for portions of P.A. 99-576, P.A. 99-585, and P.A. 604 of the 2016 Reg. Legis. Sess.). Illinois courts have interpreted the terms “keep” and “harbor,” which “are sometimes used interchangeably,” broadly to include not just the legal owner of the dog, but also any person “who places himself in a position of control akin to an owner” at the time of the incident. Frost v. Robave, Inc., 694 N.E.2d 581, …show more content…
Sullivan’s act of tying the dog to the tree, in conjunction with her providing of food and water amounts to “care, custody or control” of the dog. Like the defendant in McEvoy, who was deemed to be in control of the dog because, through his children, he was the last person to exercise control before the incident, Mrs. Sullivan was the last person to exercise some degree of control over the dog by tying it to a tree. In contrast to the defendant in Goennenwein, who allowed her son’s dog to remain on her premises for dinner when it bit the minor victim, Mrs. Sullivan did more than merely permit the dog to be on her property. She took affirmative steps to secure the dog when it became apparent that no one else was going to do so. By tying the dog to the tree, and providing it with food and water she “harbored” the dog. Although the Geonnenwein court pronounced that when the true dog owner is present and in control of the dog, the property owner cannot be considered an “owner,” the dog’s true owners were not controlling their dog in any meaningful way, which is why Mrs. Sullivan took

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