Gwinnett County Police K-9 Draco notched another win against an alleged criminal, this time in court.
Dog bites man. Man sues dog. Dog wins.
The dog was Draco, a prized member of the Gwinnett County Police Department’s K-9 unit. But on July 6, 2013, Draco bit the arm of burglary suspect Randall Kevin Jones, who later claimed the dog clamped down for what “seemed like a lifetime.”
When a federal judge rejected Gwinnett’s initial attempt to dismiss the lawsuit, the county appealed. On Friday, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta threw out the case against Draco.
“We hold that a dog may not be sued individually for negligence since a dog is not a ‘person,’” Judge Robin Rosenbaum wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel. Georgia law, she noted, does not allow such claims to be litigated against dogs.
The mere notion of allowing a lawsuit against a dog raises abundant practical issues, Rosenbaum added. How would you formally serve the lawsuit on a dog? What about the dog’s retention of legal representation? How can a dog be expected to pay damages?
I believe the accepted method for serving a lawsuit on a dog involves the lawyer peeing on the dog’s lawn.