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Virtual Paralegalism

The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism

Dog Gets His Day in Court

This story involves my two favorite subjects: paralegals and dogs. But this time, they are opposing parties in an unusual court proceeding.

I just learned that New Hanover County, NC has a Dangerous Dog Appeals Court. Star News Online provides a summary of how dog court works:

To be a dangerous dog, the animal must meet one of three criteria: the animal bites a person in any location; it attacks another pet, killing it or causing at least $250 worth of medical damage; or it has an attitude of attacking when it’s off its owner’s property, McNeil said.

A victim of a dog attack has five days to file paperwork for it to be determined dangerous. The dog owner also has five days to file a defense.

The case then goes before a panel of volunteers with extensive knowledge about dogs. The members are appointed by the board of health. The panel is not told the breed of the dog or the names of the owner or victim.

Hopefully, the panel doesn’t get to hear the name of the dog either, especially if it’s “Kujo”.

Paralegal Rebecca Zumpe was in Dangerous Dog Appeals Court this month, alleging that Kujo, a lab mix owned by Bob Greene, broke through his invisible fence while she was jogging with her dog, and knocked her down, fracturing her ankle. She’s had surgery and missed two months of work because of her injuries.

Kujo’s owner says Zumpe’s own dog knocked her over.

Oddly, the three-person volunteer panel seemed more concerned about Kujo’s safety. The panelists felt he shouldn’t be all alone in his yard where just any old dog can waltz through the invisible fence and take him down.

The verdict: install an actual physical fence and Kujo will be found not guilty.

I couldn’t tell from the article or the video what “offense” Kujo will be cleared of – not having a real fence?

Source: WWAY News Channel 3

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Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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