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Nicolet Law managing attorney Russell Nicolet

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Dog Bites in Wisconsin

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Dog Bites in Wisconsin

Jack Russell Terrier biting the pants leg of someone nearby

The fact that the owner of a dog is generally responsible for any injuries caused by that dog is usually fairly straightforward. However, as evidenced by Pawlowski v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., 2009 WI 105 (Wis. 2009) sometimes just determining who should be considered the owner of the dog can become quite complicated.

In Pawlowski, a woman named Nancy Seefeldt allowed a family friend, Walter Waterman, and his dogs to move into her home. Several months after Waterman moved into the home his dogs attacked a passerby. As Colleen Pawlowski was walking by the home, Waterman was bringing his dogs outside. The dogs rushed at Pawlowski; one of the animals went so far as to bite and knock her down. Due to the attack Pawlowski sued. However, Pawlowski did not sue Waterman, she sued Seefeldt and Seefeldt's homeowner's insurance.

Pawlowski was able to sue Seefeldt because Wisconsin's statutes define the "owner" of a dog as "any person who owns, harbors, or keeps a dog." Wis. Stat. 174.001(5) While Waterman may have owned the dogs, Seefeldt became an "owner" of the dogs by harboring them at her home and providing them with shelter.

Pawlowski had the option to sue the legal owner of the dog (Waterman) and/or the statutory owner of the dog (Seefeldt). Thus, even though Waterman was the owner of the dogs and his actions led to the attack, Seefeldt was also liable.

*please note that this is general information only and not intended to be legal advice. If you have questions or need legal advice please setup an appointment with our attorney, or an attorney of your choosing.

Russell is an attorney with Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers. Russell represents injured clients in Hudson, New Richmond, River Falls, Prescott, Ellsworth, Roberts, Osceola, St. Croix Falls, Menomonie, Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and surrounding areas of Wisconsin.

Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers has offices in Eau Claire, WI, Hudson, WI and Woodbury, MN and handles car accidents and other personal injury claims. For more information, call 1-855-NICOLET or visit www.nicoletlaw.com.

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SEE HOW NICOLET LAW MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN OUR CLIENTS’ CASES

CAR ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$1,200,000.00

CAR ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$50,000.00

SEMI-TRUCK ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$700,000.00

SEMI-TRUCK ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$75,000.00

SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$180,000.00

SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$5,000.00

PEDESTRIAN HIT BY CAR

Result with Nicolet Law 
$1,050,000.00

PEDESTRIAN HIT BY CAR

Offer before Nicolet Law
$0.00 - denial

DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$815,000.00

DRUNK DRIVING VICTIM

Offer before Nicolet Law
$0.00

UTV ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$250,000.00

UTV ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$5,000.00
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12 locations in Wisconsin and Minnesota to serve you

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Wisconsin Locations:

EAU CLAIRE:

402 Graham Ave.
Suite 305
Eau Claire, WI 54701

Phone: 715-226-4155
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HUDSON:

517 2nd Street
Unit #205
Hudson, WI 54016

Phone: 715-226-4155
Map & Directions

LA CROSSE:

119 N 19th St S
La Crosse, WI 54601

Phone: 715-226-4155
Map & Directions

NEW RICHMOND:

1500 Madison Ave.
Suite 220
New Richmond, WI 54017

Phone: 715-226-4155
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RICE LAKE:
337 North Main Street
Rice Lake, WI 54868

Phone: 715-226-4155
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RIVER FALLS
215 S 2nd St #20
River Falls, WI 54022

Phone: 715-226-4155
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SUPERIOR:
1200 Tower Ave.
Superior, WI 54880

Phone: 715-226-4155
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WAUSAU:
408 3rd Street
Suite 303
Wausau, WI 54403

Phone: 715-226-4155
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Minnesota Locations:

DULUTH:
306 West Superior Street,
Suite 606 West
Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: 651-427-3331
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HIBBING:
Howard Court Bldg.
302 Howard Street, Suite 123
Hibbing, MN 55746

Phone: 651-427-3331
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MINNEAPOLIS:
225 South 6th Street
Suite 3900
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Phone: 651-427-3331
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WOODBURY:
724 Bielenberg Drive
Suite 126
Woodbury, MN 55125

Phone: 651-427-3331
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