The High Court has found a Kilbeggan couple negligent in a dog bite injury claim for compensation brought against them by their postman.
Joseph Dunne (63), also from Kilbeggan in County Westmeath, was delivering letters to the home of Olive Dalton and Martin Maher of Dublin Road, Kilbeggan when, on 8th October 2008, the couple´s husky-type dog escaped from their garden through a hole in the hedge and attacked him.
Joseph was knocked to the floor by the dog, and endured a terrifying attack while the dog continued to claw and bite him. Fortunately a passer-by was able to halt the attack by striking the dog across the back with a stick and an ambulance was called to take Joseph to hospital.
At the hospital, Joseph received twenty-two stitches for lacerations to the right side of his face and received treatment for nerve damage to the right side of his forehead. When the stitches were removed, it was necessary for Joseph to undergo plastic surgery to disguise his scars.
After seeking legal advice from a solicitor, Joseph made a dog bite injury claim for compensation against Ms Dalton and Mr Maher – alleging that they had been negligent in failing to enclose their garden securely and for not informing An Post of the potential dangers of delivering post to the property.
The couple denied their liability for Joseph´s injuries and the case went to the High Court in Dublin, where Mr Justice Michael Moriarty was told that the dog had been put down on the day following the attack.
After hearing evidence from both parties, the judge found in Joseph´s favour, and awarded him €55,000 in settlement of his dog bite injury claim for compensation – commenting that Joseph had been brave to return to work so soon after what must have been a particularly frightening event.