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Owner in Põltsamaa dog attack sentenced to 10 months

Tartu Courthouse. September 8, 2022.
Tartu Courthouse. September 8, 2022. Source: Aili Vahtla/ERR

Dog owner Monika Anton was sentenced to ten months in prison on Tuesday after her two dogs attacked a neighbor in November 2022, causing life-threatening injuries.

Tartu County Court found Anton guilty of the negligent causing of serious health damage to the victim and sentenced her to ten months in prison, two months of which are to be served immediately. The court also ordered Anton to pay more than €100,000 in damages.

The first-tier court likewise satisfied the victim's material damages claim, ordering Anton to pay €1,837.08, as well as €1,200 in material damages in connection with bringing the civil suit. She was also ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings in the amount of €1,314.

By a decision of the court, Monika Anton's remaining eight-month prison sentence will not be enforced on condition that she does not commit a new intentional criminal offense during a two-year probation period and remains in compliance with probation requirements.

Monika Anton was accused of negligently causing serious health damage to a victim. According to the charges, the defendant had two large dogs in the Põltsamaa Municipality village of Tammiku, but her property was not sufficiently fenced off to contain her dogs, and on November 12, 2022, the dogs attacked the defendant's neighbor, a 26-year-old woman, on the victim's property, causing life-threatening injuries.

"With today's ruling, the court has sent a clear message – the pet owner must ensure that their animal is not a danger to anyone," said Külli Saks, district prosecutor at the Southern District Prosecutor's Office.

"If they have not done their utmost to keep their dog within their fenced property and an attack with dire consequences subsequently occurs, then the pet owner has in their negligence committed a crime, and is liable for resulting material as well as immaterial damages," Saks underscored.

The decision has not yet entered into force.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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