City and State


Legal Memo Assignment

To: Senior Attorney

From: Associates

Date: September 16, 2022

Re: Marianne Dog Bite Case

Senior Attorney,

Question Presented

            Could Lara Marianne be strictly liable for the injury? Under the ruling established in Slack v. Khan, can a dog owner be strictly liable for injuries caused by the dog when the owner has prior knowledge about the dog’s history of aggressive and dangerous behaviour.


Yes, a dog owner is liable for the injury because she had previous knowledge concerning her dog’s aggressive and dangerous behaviour.

Statement of Facts

Marianne, the adopted guardian of Sadie, a Labrador mix dog, is facing possible liability for injuries caused after the dog bit a random jogger. Sadie’s past owners had put the dog up for adoption after it snapped at their toddler. The baby was pulling the pet’s fur, causing it to be uncomfortable. Even though the dog had not caused any injury to the child, the aggression could easily have harmed the baby. While jogging in the park, Marianne and Sadie were suddenly overtaken by a faster jogger, causing the dog to be anxious. Sadie became startled, grabbing the jogger with her teeth, and creating a small cut.


            Under the circumstances, could Marianne, the owner of Sadie the dog, be held liable for injuries sustained to a random jogger, because the injury was caused by the dog’s bite? The defendant had been made aware of the dog’s behaviour during the adoption process. Marianne had been informed on what transpired between the dog and its past owners.

The damages for any injuries caused are outlined under common law. According to the rulings established in Slack v. Khan, the owner of a dog is liable for injuries caused if; she had reason to know that Sadie was dangerous (1), the court bases the owner’s knowledge based on the dog’s actions (2), or the dog’s past actions are similar to the problem at hand (3)

The owner of a dog has the legal duty to take reasonable care or control over the dog’s behaviour. A failure to meet this duty renders the owner negligent. If the negligence causes injury to another person, the dog owner becomes liable for the harm done[1]. Slack v. Khan highlights that the court determines whether there was reasonable foreseeing, meaning the dog owner could anticipate the dog biting people. The defendant’s, the Khans, were acquitted by the courts because there was no way to show they had prior-knowledge of the dog’s dangerous behaviour that led to the injury basing the case. According to our case, Lara Marianne had already been made aware of why the dog had been put up for adoption. Sadie had portrayed aggressive behaviour towards a toddler. However, the attendee at the animal shelter indicated the baby had provoked the dog. In the Khan case, the dog was not directly responsible for the injury as it was the claimant who fell backwards. In the Marianne case, the do did cause the actual injury. The two arguments can be used to highlight a lack of reasonable care.

Another argument in favour of the claimant would be the fact that the circumstances surrounding the jogger are similar to that of the toddler. Slack v. Khan outlines the law assigns liability if past actions are substantially similar to the one at hand. The court stated that similarities in actions leading to injuries is an indication of the defendant’s knowledge about the dog’s aggressive behaviours. Lara Marianne was aware of the circumstances that would push Sadie to be anxious and aggressive. The similarity between the current and past events, combined with the information provided at the animal shelter, is sufficient to prove elements of negligence.

Lara Marianne can be held strictly liable for the injury. The defendant satisfies two conditions established by Slack v. Khan for a negligent dog owner’s liability. Foremost, the defendant had reason to know the dog could be aggressive or dangerous. Secondly, the dog’s past actions are highly similar to the issue under deliberation. The owner’s carelessness caused the injuries because there were no efforts to prevent similar acts of aggression or ensure the dog remained calm and comfortable.


In almost every jurisdiction, a person is liable for the losses and damages causes from their negligence. Such a rule applies to dog owners and injuries caused by the animals. Dogs might be friendly and lovable, but they are known to forget their docile nature once in a while when provoked, hungry or in need of protecting loved ones. Marianne’s case shows that a dog owner will be liable for injuries caused during such instances. Therefore, it is the dog owner’s responsibility to train and control the dogs.


Gjelten, E.A. “A Negligent Dog Owner’s Liability.” NOLO Law, n.d., 

[1]E.A. Gjelten. “A Negligent Dog Owner’s Liability.” NOLO Law, n.d., ( )

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