Cause of Death

Cause Of Death As A Defense

Obviously cause of death is an indespensible element of the government's burden of proof.  They must prove that the dog "killed" the domestic animal.  This is harder than it sounds.  A necropsy is a must for this type of proof.  In Ulu's case, the judge questioned whether the County had met this burden of proof.  There had been no necropsy, and no witness had actually seen the dog kill the cat. What if the cat had a heart attack and the dog picked him up afterwards?  The judge asked if there had been a necropsy proving cause of death, and the county admitted that one was not done. 

Cause of death was also an issue in the McBee case.  There, the question was whether the dogs had picked up an already dead cat, or had killed the cat. The issue turned on whether a witness had seen the cat move as if it had been alive while in the dog's mouth.  In my opinion, something impossible for a witness to really tell.  The Code Enforcement Board took the testimony of the witness that the cat had moved it's paw to find the McBee dogs dangerous.  This despite the fact that the witness had agreed that she had heard her cat cry out an hour earlier.

Finally, there is the case in Broward, where a dog allegedly killed a cat, and animal control, thinking the cat's neck was broken, euthanized it.  A necropsy showed no broken neck.  There is case law that says that in such a case, the cat cannot be guilty of "killing" under the dangerous dog ordinance.


Dangerous Dog Law

Helping to defend our best friends. Dangerous Dog Law (DDL) focuses on the legal defense of allegedly dangerous dogs. DDL is a member of the Pit Bulletin Legal News Network.

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