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A dog owner's liability for his dog biting anyone is based upon Fla. Stat. ch. 767.04, which provides, in part: No owner of any dog shall be liable for any damages to any person or his property when such person shall mischievously or carelessly provoke or aggravate the dog inflicting such damages.
The defendant dog owner had two dogs which had never manifested any act of meanness. On one of the occasions when the plaintiff child went to the defendant dog owner's house, she was bitten by one of the dogs. Thereafter, plaintiff filed suit for damages against defendant dog owner. Defendant dog owner's daughter alleged that she was feeding the dogs when plaintiff arrived and said she wanted to feed them too. Plaintiff then went over and took a milk bone out of the dog's dish, whereupon the dog bit her. The trial judge awarded partial summary judgment in favor of plaintiff.
Did the trial court err when it entered summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff’s child?
The court affirmed the decision of the trial court. It held that the taking of a milk bone out of the dog's dish by plaintiff, who wished to feed the dog, did not constitute a provocation that would except defendants, dog owner and her insurance carrier, from liability.