Boy awarded damages for dog bite

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 October, 2010, 12:00am

A nine-year-old boy was awarded HK$132,000 in damages by the District Court yesterday after being bitten on the face by a classmate's dog.

Ian Chiang Ki-chun's mother filed a personal injury claim on his behalf after his friend's mother denied responsibility, saying she had been told that the boy teased the mongrel, named Pocky, with spaghetti and a piece of sausage.

'I find that Ian did not tease the dog before he was bitten. He was not warned not to tease the dog. The defendant was negligent,' Deputy Judge Clement Lee Hing-nin said in handing down his judgment.

'Even if Ian has teased Pocky, I do not see how a nine-year-old boy should be blamed for being playful when the dog keeper and domestic helpers simply failed to exercise the duty of a reasonably careful parent.'

Louise Chow Yuen-man filed the claim against Li Yin-sze for permitting the dog to be placed in a position where she could foresee it might harm Ian, exposing the boy to risk of injury, and failing to ensure the dog was properly watched.

The incident occurred during a children's play day in June last year at Li's Clear Water Bay home, where Ian had gone with his brother.

The boy was in hospital for nine days after being attacked by the dog, which had been leashed in a corner of the living room.

Ian denied he teased the dog and said he had not been warned before he started playing with the animal. He said he patted and played with the dog, then fed him a biscuit. That was when the animal suddenly bit him on the face, according to the written judgment.

The boy said he had subsequently been haunted by nightmares about dogs and that he was now scared of big dogs.

Li said her son had told her that Ian teased the dog with a sausage and spaghetti.

She said the animal was tame and was well behaved among family members and her cat.

The judge awarded Ian the damages in compensation for medical expenses, including procedures to remove a scar on his face resulting from the bite.