Family Fights For Dog’s Life After Attack

Guy James is fighting for his dog’s life.

Congo, his German shepherd has been deemed dangerous by a judge and will be put down after an attack on a landscaper.

James, a New Jersey man, said that Congo was defending and protecting his wife, and that Congo is a friendly dog and has never had any history of violence. But animal control officers said that Congo’s attack was unprovoked.

The man who was attacked won a $250,000 insurance settlement as a result of his injuries.

James said that the landscaper, Giovanni Rivera, and another worker disobeyed his instructions to not get out of the car until he put away Congo and the other dogs. He stated that the workers got there an hour before they were scheduled to and they came when the dogs were outside eating.

Rivera and the other worker got out of the car and the dogs began to bark. James said that the worker hit the dogs with a metal rake, and James’ wife told him to stop. Rivera, who is afraid of dogs, grabbed James’ wife from behind to protect himself from the dogs and pulled her to the ground which caused her to scream. Congo then started to bite and scratch Rivera and the other dogs began biting him also.

James called off the dogs, and Rivera was treated for his bites at the hospital.

Since the incident, Congo has been at an animal shelter and James said that he is depressed and anxious and has to be hand-fed or he will not eat.

The James’ lawyer said the attack was provoked, and that under New Jersey law, the dogs had a right to protect themselves and their family.

But the municipal prosecutor said the family is responsible and should have kept their dogs under control and were negligent.

A dog behavior expert testified that the dogs’ attack was provoked. She wrote, “Based on these threats (unfamiliar individuals, perceived threatening position, the attack on the puppies with a metal rake, grabbing the owner from behind and pulling to the ground) the dogs were compelled to defend themselves and their owner.”

Various neighbors that have had experience with Congo and the other dogs also stated that the dogs are “happy dogs” and are friendly.

The judge is expected to place his ruling on the record on Tuesday.

James said he has received thousands of letters and e-mails supporting him and Congo. He said he plans to appeal the judge’s ruling to Superior Court.

Some animal experts and animal control officers said that Congo’s behavior was exceedingly aggressive in the attack. They said that Congo initiated the attack, and that they have concerns that Congo continued to bite and attack Rivera instead of just biting him once. They all agreed that the James should be held responsible for not controlling their dogs.

One animal expert said, “The reason the guy got bit was he was afraid of the dogs. He was the aggressor, grabbing the woman. In that action to a dog, he’s reading it as an aggressive action. A German shepherd will die for his master. All he was doing was protecting his pack. The owners were negligent. They deserve to be sued but they don’t deserve to have the dog put down.”

Source: The Times

(Thanks Irene and Stattwit)

126 Responses to “Family Fights For Dog’s Life After Attack”

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  1. Jenny Bark says:

    Boy am I upset by some of these remarks. I don’t know of many people with dogs that don’t do the same things as these people did. He told them to waite in the car, it is his property if they didn’t like it they could have gotten the he!! out, period. They had no right to go on the property after being told to stay in the car until he came out.

    I do not consider this man lazy for hiring somebody to work on their property. Yes he is only 46 but we do not know what health problems he might have or how many hours he works & 4 acres is a lot of property. I only have 1 acre & if I could find someone I trusted I would hire someone some times.

    We built ourselves what I consider a beautiful home. We share that home with who we want to & that is our dogs & cat. I do not have a garage but if I did I would NEVER put my dogs in it. I don’t think much of people who put dogs in garages with what ever crap is in it. What about what might have leaked from that car that could kill a dog? What about the fumes?

    I don’t know what other countrys you can live in illegally, get health care, send your kids to school for free, work in, & also sue for being on somebody property when they told you to waite. I bet not too many. Imo if you are living here illegally you are breaking the law & should be in jail. I believe the polls says most people think the same way. I don’t see this as being racist at all. Racist is about the color of somebody skin, their religon or where they are from not about being legal or illegal.

    If this would have happened at our house we would have been in jail & would have to proberly sell our home to pay for a good lawyer. If that guy would have gotten me on the ground he would have had human teeth makes on him & would have to talk in a high voice for the rest of his life. My husband might be old but he still works & is still one of the tuffest & smartest man I know. Let anybody hurt even one of our dogs or me & nothing but killing him would be able to stop him. We home cook for our dogs & cat but maybe raw feeding is not such a bad idea.

  2. Donna says:

    Free the dog. Attack on the owner. Dog is a hero. Dog deserves freedom and a medal. The landscaper. First question. Does he speak english ? Second question, if you are “fearful” of bulls,………would you get of of a car in a herd of cattle ? Wouldn’t logic and “fear” have you stay in your car ? I do not “buy” this story of the dogs guilt. Fearful people do not “get out” to face their fears. Would you conquer your “fear” by charging a bull ? Free Congo. This story reeks of con game. And yes, to the question of making a living being bitten by dogs. Old ploy. I see, it still works.

  3. Lynn says:

    Thank you, Donna, you expressed it beautifully.

  4. JJ in IL says:

    Would seem like all owners of dogs with fenced property need to install locked gates that only a can be opened with either a key or a security code entered onto a key pad. No need to have anyone wait to enter your property-they wont be able to til your ready to let them on the property. Should they then proceed to either jump or climb over the fence then they are trespassing and breaking the law.

  5. Don Earl says:

    Jenny,

    With all due respect, you are up in arms about illegals, but are willing to go to war for those who hire them. If people like James weren’t willing to under cut American workers by illegally hiring aliens and paying them under the table for an additional illegal tax break, the aliens would have no incentive to be here.

    So, James hires the illegal aliens and they show up as promised. James yells out the window to stay in the car while he puts the dogs away. The workers stay in the car, and after some time not seeing any dogs, one of them gets out to knock on the door. James is probably paying them by the job, so they want to get it done with and move on. All of a sudden the worker is surrounded by a pack of large dogs, snarling and barking, with teeth bared, making pre attack lunges at his legs. He has a rake in his hand and uses it to fend off the attacking dogs. The owner comes out screaming hysterically at the man instead of calling off the dogs, working the dogs into an even higher attack frenzy. The man tries to put the dog owner between himself and the attacking dogs in the hope the owner will control them. In the confusion, they both go down, where the man is viciously attacked and maimed for life.

    In my book, that is not okay.

    Yes, I know it’s just ever so much extra responsiblity to keep this sort of thing from happening. For every one of the 4 million Americans attacked by dogs every year, there’s a dog owner making excuses for why they should not be held responsible.

    I know a man whose neighbor’s dog jumped the fence and tore his child’s face half off. The first thing the neighbor said to the man was, “You’re not going to let them take my dog away, are you?”.

    RE: “I don’t know of many people with dogs that don’t do the same things as these people did.”

    I’m sad to say you’re probably right. It makes me even sadder to say so to someone I like, and fully agree with on many other issues.

  6. ellis says:

    Don, you are wasting most of your breath. Some of these wacky folk are under the impression that there’s little or no personal responsibility involved in owning a dog.

    Contractors expected means dogs should be put away or restrained. Laborers show up early? That is totally inconsequential and a moot point.

    Your dogs attacking someone you *expected* on your property means that somewhere you have committed a HUGE error in providing a safe environment to those you ask to enter.

    Can you imagine the conversation between the home owner and his insurance comapny? :-)

    Do I think the dog should be put down? No. Do I think the owner should be publically humiliated? Yes, definitely.

    My opinion is that the rocket scientists here who are spouting-off about how it’s the laborer’s fault, or the contractor’s fault ~~ all need a lesson in responsible pet ownership.

  7. Jenny Bark says:

    Don, Where did you read he knew he was hiring illegals or paid them under the table? I have not read that anywhere, I have also not read anywhere that they knocked on the door. What I also read was that the pups where hit & the women was on the ground before the man got out. Please let me know where you read these things & then I will be very glad to tell you that I’m sorry. You are telling me things I haven’t read anywhere. Please show me the article.

    I am very sorry about you neighbors child. If this would have happened to me with my dogs or cat I would expect to face all the charges they could give me. My dogs are in a fenced in yard not only to protect them but also to be a good neighbor. When I or my husband are not at home the dogs & my inside cat is in the house. Our babies are our responsibilty & we live up to that. Again I am very sorry about your neighbors child & would do anything to protect children but these dogs did not jump the fence. I do not know how these dogs are with kids but their neighbors in one of the articles say they where ok. I do know how my dogs are with kids & they are good but still I never leave them with kids unless it is family or a close neighbor or close friend.

    Again I’m sorry about you neighbor that should never happen to any child. I like you a lot Don but I disagree with you on this one

  8. Don Earl says:

    Jenny,

    Our mainstream media lets us down on a lot of issues and illegal immigration is one of them. People are smuggled across the border and forces to work in sweat shops for less than minimum wage and threatened with being turned in if they try to leave. Shaddy contractors hire them under the table and often shaft them for weeks or months of wages because they’re afraid to turn in the contractors.

    The end result is their best gig is to work under the table for home owners doing odd jobs.

    When I see hopelessly slanted articles on a subject, I automatically start reading between the lines.

    James leaned out the window to yell at the workers he hired in Spanish when they showed up. You figure he found them in the Yellow Pages? I’ll concede the possibility, but it wouldn’t be my first guess. He certainly didn’t check green cards or social security numbers to make sure he wasn’t aiding and abeting illegal immigration.

    After hearing all the evidence, the court found the attack to be unprovoked. I don’t have a lot of faith in our judicial system these days, but this was after a trial and the insurance company paid up rather than filing an appeal.

    So, Mr. James hires illegals to under cut American citizens, his dogs put an innocent man in the hospital with injuries that took $150,000 in doctor bills to fix, and he helped rachet up home owner’s insurance for everyone else in the country who owns a dog. Not to mention this is the kind of incident that adds grist to the mill on dangerous dog legislation that most pet owners are against.

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I’m at a loss on the comments supporting James as a stand up guy, deserving of everyone’s support. He just got through making your world a worse place to live in.

  9. Sharon says:

    An illegal immigrant attacked his wife. His dog tried to protect her. If we enforced our immigration laws this entire incident would never had happened. It’s time to start deporting people who are in this country illegally instead of coddling them at the expense of the lives of Americans. In Texas an illegal immigrants dogs attacked and killed an elderly woman who was mowing her lawn next door. Guess what happended to him? nothing. He got away with murder because he is an illegal immigrant. I was never a racist in any way until I moved to Texas. Now I am sick of living in Mexico and would like to see every last Mexican in this state deported and put in prison for life if they ever try to enter this country again.

  10. shibadiva says:

    Sharon, this incident could have happened if any labourer had gotten out of his car with the dogs around, hit the puppies and knocked the wife over. Your immigration laws wouldn’t have prevented anything.

  11. Jenny Bark says:

    Don, I have a big meeting today, I will get back to you in a couple hours. I still do not agree with you but still like you. Jenny

  12. Lynn says:

    Anyone heard any news on the protest march this morning? What was the outcome in court today?

    Any news coverage?

  13. Lynn says:

    Grief, I am fairly well convinced that the Animal Control Officer Johnson is to blame for most of this. Of course, it would appear that it was he who made the recommendation to the judge to put down Congo. Take a look-see. [Be apprised that my opinion of Animal Control Officers is that they range from highly intelligent and caring to idiots on a power trip.]

    http://www.trentonian.com/WebA.....7QSr662zkm!732527842?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_article&r21.pgpath=%2FTRN%2FHome&r21.content=%2FTRN%2FHome%2FTopStoryList_Story_1083246

  14. Lynn says:

    Re the rally of support:

    http://www.nj.com/centraljerse.....congo.html

    Judge is supposed to issue ruling in one hour.

  15. Lynn says:

    Don:
    Regarding your comment at 5:59AM:
    “People are smuggled across the border and forces to work in sweat shops for less than minimum wage and threatened with being turned in if they try to leave.”
    They are not FORCED to work in sweat shops. These people line up in Mexico HOPING to work in sweatshops.
    “The end result is their best gig is to work under the table for home owners doing odd jobs.”
    To the tune of costing legal Americans billions of dollars in illegals’ medical bills, education, and dedication of resources at taxpayers’ expense.
    “He certainly didn’t check green cards or social security numbers to make sure he wasn’t aiding and abeting illegal immigration.”
    As a resident of southern CA I can tell you that our front doors are deluged with business cards from illegals wanting to do all kinds of work for cheap prices. Let’s face it, right or wrong, I don’t know a soul who checks legal credentials from casual laborers. So don’t try to make his failure to check for legal status out to be something that deviates from the norm.
    “Mr. James hires illegals to under cut American citizens…”
    And how did he know they were illegal??? Fact: in southern CA we have more anchor babies [babies born in the US of illegal immigrants] that have grown up and still don’t speak English.
    “….put an innocent man in the hospital with injuries that took $150,000 in doctor bills to fix…”
    No, the idiot got out of the car when he was instructed to stay inside. Furthermore, he arrived an hour earlier than the appointed time. Where did you get the $150,000 in doctor bills? Cite your sources.
    “I’m at a loss on the comments supporting James as a stand up guy, deserving of everyone’s support. He just got through making your world a worse place to live in.”
    Actually, from what I read, the Animal Control Officer readily admits that the gardener changed his story three times.

  16. straybaby says:

    “Maybe I’m missing something, but I’m at a loss on the comments supporting James as a stand up guy, deserving of everyone’s support. He just got through making your world a worse place to live in.”

    is it really about whether the owner is a stand up guy, or the dog and the dog owners rights. the dog was doing what dogs do in threatening situations. what really scares me is Johnson and his lack of understanding. i also have a problem with the story being changed 3 times according to (i believe) Johnson. as a dog owner, who sees dog (pet) owners rights getting jerked around in many places, i find it very disturbing that someone with so little understanding is involved in the outcome of this.

    and as a raw feeder, OY!!!! my cats eat raw dead rabbits too!

  17. sxa-roo » Blog Archive » Family Fights For Dog’s Life After Attack says:

    […] check the full story here […]

  18. Lynn says:

    Straybaby:

    Your cats eat raw food? They must be VICIOUS!!!! LOL, LOL, LOL

  19. shibadiva says:

    “The prosecutor in the case said the sentence could have been avoided if the family had accepted a plea deal before the case went to trial. ”Congo would be at home right now, and would have been since the beginning, if they had agreed to my offer, which was on the table since all along,” he said.

    http://packetonline.com/articl.....072988.prt

    What a shameful legal game this is.

  20. Concha Castaneda says:

    Sure would be less expensive to hire some dogs instead of building a wall between our country and theirs! How would a police dog be treated under these same conditions? Man is told to stay in his car. Man attacks dogs with impliment of mass destruction. Man throws woman to the ground. Dog is loyal to the very end. This is a no brainer. Dude is lucky to be alive…should not push the karmic law and sue! We need more dogs like Congo and less people like the workers who obviously do not understand english or spanish. Hey dude…you are on my land. Stay in your car for a minute…your early, I wasn’t prepared for you just yet. I can see it. How unfair that the home owner will suffer the loss of their beloved loyal dog. I don’t think someone in this country illegally should be able to sue an american citizen…except if that citizen were responsible for that person being in the country illegally of course! Maybe we should all get tazers. You don’t have to feed em, and you don’t have to worry that they will die in your behalf. This whole story sickens me. That guy should go back home and have home pay for his injuries. He obviously is too arrogant to live or work here. If he touched my wife…he would be dead and the dog would not have to be put down. I would be lookin at life…

  21. Don Earl says:

    RE: “the dog was doing what dogs do in threatening situations”

    You have it backwards. The man did what people who are afraid of dogs do when confronted by a snarling dog pack.

    If, knowing workers were expected first thing in the morning, the owners had confined the dogs the night before, it never would have happened.

    Pet owners could do well to adopt the first rule of firearm safety, which assumes a gun is always loaded. From there everything else is common sense. Assume dogs bite and take appropriate steps to prevent that from happening.

    As your comment indicates you are well aware this kind of situation can arise, your argument the pet owners are blameless is ludicrous.

    First, the dogs shouldn’t have been out. Second, seeing the man trying to fend off the dogs long enough for the owners to intervene, the woman should have defused the situation rather than hysterically going after the man. Her duty was to stop the aggressive behavior of the dogs, not berate the man while the aggression continued.

    The message I get from this story, and the comments I’ve seen, is that anyone confronted by this kind of situation should use whatever potential weapon that is at hand, with lethal force, and without hesitation, rather than to try stalling the attack in the hope the owners will come to their aid. On that basis, the dogs would have been dead before the woman arrived on the scene and the man wouldn’t have been maimed for life after a brutal and terrifying mauling.

    What would be your position if you were the one on the receiving end of this attack, or one of your children, instead of, you know, someone billed as an illegal?

  22. Sundown says:

    Unfortunately, the judge ruled to let Congo’s death penalty stand. And will not let him go home while an appeal is filed, according to this news report.

    http://www.nj.com/centraljerse.....enten.html

    Total insanity that this poor dog is being sentenced to death for protecting his family.

  23. Don Earl says:

    RE: “Total insanity that this poor dog is being sentenced to death for protecting his family.”

    Picture yourself laying on the ground with flaps of your bloody flesh hanging off you in ruins while a pack of dogs continue to tear you apart trying to open a vein that will end your life.

    What did you do to deserve this?

    You showed up for work.

    The level of disgust I’m feeling right now is beyond words.

  24. Traci says:

    “What did you do to deserve this?

    You showed up for work.

    The level of disgust I’m feeling right now is beyond words.”

    (What did you do?) Apparently you were an illegal alien who couldn’t speak English. I am with you on this one, Don, though I have disagreed with you elsewhere.

    One reason this Jewish Agnostic always liked the last Pope even though I disagreed with him on many other issues:

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP950725.htm

  25. Carol Johnson says:

    Everyone has a right to create their own opinion…no one has a right to create their own facts.

    Where does it state they were illegal aliens? The fact he has a Hispanic name does not mean he is not a citizen.

    Where is there any indication of under-the-table payments?

    Where is the scenario described of the worker surrounded by snarling dogs?

    If someone hit your dog with a rake and pulled a family member to the ground….how would you react??

  26. Traci says:

    “Where does it state they were illegal aliens? The fact he has a Hispanic name does not mean he is not a citizen.”

    In the link provided by Shibadiva, see page one of comments.

    Also, apparently he pulled the wife to the ground in a clumsy act of trying to hide behind her.

  27. Lynn says:

    To everyone who has accused the rest of us of assuming the gardener is an illegal alien:

    http://www.trentonian.com/WebA.....7QSr662zkm!732527842?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_article&r21.pgpath=%2FTRN%2FHome&r21.content=%2FTRN%2FHome%2FTopStoryList_Story_1083246

    Do a find for the word “illegal” and you will see it.

  28. Lynn says:

    Forgive me, PetConnection and blogger Susan, but I’m copying your post of November 13, 2007 @ 3:27 pm below so that the people on the itchmo site can read this important information:

    http://www.petconnection.com/b.....ent-157619

    “….the court still intends to have Congo executed. The next step is to call Gov. Corzine to encourage her to overturn the court’s decision. The phone number is 609-292-6000. They are very polite when they pick up the phone, and all you need to do is tell them you want Congo to be saved. They are keeping a tally of phone calls.”

    The phones are on voicemail as of this moment [Tuesday night], but please call 1-609-292-6000 first thing Wednesday AM [eastern time] and simply state that you want Congo saved and released NOW.

  29. Lynn says:

    Don:

    If my front door was ajar and you rang the doorbell and I yelled from the other room not to come in, but to go back to your car and wait, but you opted to ignore my instructions and came in anyway……..well, that’s breaking and entering.

  30. Lynn says:

    For goodness sake, Traci [re November 13th, 2007 at 6:16 pm ] - definitely not wise to bring religion into an already overwhelmed discussion here. It has no bearing whatsoever.

    Maybe the gardener couldn’t speak English, but the property owner spoke Spanish and thus issued his instruction to go and wait in the car in Spanish.

    Read the entire blog, people.

  31. Traci says:

    “Maybe the gardener couldn’t speak English, but the property owner spoke Spanish and thus issued his instruction to go and wait in the car in Spanish.”

    Page one of comments, Spanish speakers and derogatory comments to them were mentioned. I have read the whole blog.

  32. Tanya says:

    done any one else find it strange teh owner said “wait in the car???”

    HELLO, if your dogs aren’t dangerous, why did you tell them to WAIT IN TEH CAR?

    what if i want to streatch my legs, or have a smoke. hello. the dogs posed a threat. and the owner knew it

  33. Tanya says:

    If my front door was ajar and you rang the doorbell and I yelled from the other room not to come in, but to go back to your car and wait, but you opted to ignore my instructions and came in anyway……..well, that’s breaking and entering.

    you realize from witness accounts, he DIDNT CROSS proeprty lines.

    he was in the unfenced area of the yard. you get that, right?

  34. Lynn says:

    Traci - I was referring to your posting of November 13th, 2007 at 6:43 pm - I think we’re talking apples and oranges here.

    Tanya re November 13th, 2007 at 7:24 pm “done any one else find it strange teh owner said “wait in the car???”

    Hell, no. If someone showed up an hour before he was supposed to I’d tell him to wait in the car, too. Why should I be inconvenienced? And I sure wouldn’t want some stranger poking around, possibly looking in windows, or letting puppies out of the yard.

    If the gardener wanted to stretch his legs or have a smoke then he should have driven off and come back at the agreed upon time.

  35. Lynn says:

    Tanya [November 13th, 2007 at 7:27 pm]:

    And you understand, I’m sure, that the minute you put foot on another’s land, fence or no fence, without the express permission of the landowner or as a person with legal authority to do so, you are trespassing.

    You get THAT, right?

  36. Lynn says:

    Check out this link and scroll down a bit - photos taken today.

    http://njo.stage.advance.net/n.....prote.html

  37. jada says:

    We need to deport these ILLEGAL ALIENS NOW!!!!

    CONGO THE GSD lost his court case today.
    Judge upheld the death sentence.

    EVERYONE PLEASE WRITE & CALL
    New Jersey Gov.Corzine
    Urge him to OVERRIDE CONGO’s DEATH SENTENCE

    Gov.’s office is taking a numerical tally on how many people call - please call him
    Office of the Governor PO Box 001 Trenton, NJ 08625
    609-292-6000
    email by going to his site: http://www.nj.gov/governor/govmail.html

    NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS ESPECIALLY NEEDED!!!!!! !!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!
    NY and PA residents also especially helpful…

    For those not familiar with Congo’s case:
    1. two illegal immigrants were gardening at the family’s house
    2. they arrived an hour early
    3. they were told by the husband to stay in their truck until he could get out of the shower and get some clothes on
    4. the husband speaks Spanish and spoke to them in Spanish so there is no question they understand what they were told to do
    5. they directly disobeyed the husband and walked into the backyard with the wife, who had just pulled into the driveway)
    6. the two adult gsd’s and their puppies came running
    7. the gardeners paniced
    8. ONE GARDENER GRABBED THE WIFE AND WRESTLED HER TO THE GROUND, USING HER AS A PROTECTIVE SHIELD
    9. Congo thought his owner was being attacked and went after the gardener
    10. the gardener used his rake to beat at the puppies and inflicted some injuries on them
    11. the gardener changed his story three times (interesting note on official bias: when the owner said the gardener changed his story five times, the dog warden said “No, he only changed his story 3 times.”)

  38. MaineMom says:

    Get real! If a dog barks, growls or raises it ’s hackles you don’t need an intrepreter - get the heck out of Dodge. Only an idiot of any nationality would hang around. Even a person well known to a dog may be chased off the property if the owner isn’t present. My ex’s hunting buddy (well known to our flat coat from many years of duck and pheasant hunting) tried to enter our yard to borrow a cement mixer while we were gone. He told us later that he made a quick exit over the fence when Rip’s hair stood straight up on his neck and he bared his teeth, growled and charged. This guy was no genius - just smart enough not to hang around and get chewed up by a 100+ lb dog!

    BTW - GE’s automated pre-repair phone calls now include a request to lock up CATS before the tech arrives. Actually no tech or sub-contractor works for us who does not like our animals. We’ve found our pets to be great judges of character.

  39. Jenny Bark says:

    I haven’t seen anything to change my mind. Thanks for all the links. I hope the Governor or the higher court will over rule. Imo this judge will never get elected again. I will call & e-mail the gov. tomorrow & my husband will call at lunch.

    sorry I wasn’t here for the dabate but I’ve had a ruff day & my baby Tornado is sick. Don’t know what is wrong but he doesn’t look good at all. Going to watch him close tonight & deside wheater to take him to er or waite till Thursday for my vet. She is closed on Wedesday. I’ll get on line some time tomorrow to find out if there is anything new.

  40. Thel Josenhans says:

    We have a gentel , loving Germen Sheherd ,
    They can sence evil people , what there intent is , the same as , they can smell better , This dog , should be praised , for defending , the women , & that crazy …control officer , should be fired , for not seeing ,the whole story . My God , just because the guy was bit , maybe …. the judge , should have…….seen WHY , the worker , was wrong , I hope the dog bit him , in the ass , for what pain , He has caused this family ,
    NO, NO ,the dog should not be put down, some one , needs to check out this workers back grown , bet , he has a record , just , looking for trouble ,no desent man , pulls a women , in front of a biting dog ,doesn’t that , tell some one some thing ? He is a low-life. T.K.J. Thel

  41. Lynn says:

    Jenny Bark: You take care of Tornado and I’ll keep on top of this blog.

    Thel Josenhans: I hope Mr. James’ attorney did do a thorough check on Giovanni Rivera. And you are so right, “He is a low-life.”

    For those of you who believe Congo should be spared, please call New Jersey Governor John Corzine’s office in Trenton NJ on Wed. AM at

    1-609-292-6000

    and tell them you want Congo released NOW. They are taking a tally, so please call.

  42. ellis says:

    Apparently, besides racists and rocket scientists, there are a bunch of psychics here who can say positively what other people saw, heard, or understood. Absolutely amazing.

    The adults in control of the household are 100% at fault, in my opinion. You know there will be workers on the property next day… so you take steps to ensure the safety of those you have *arranged* to have on your property. That doesn’t mean inspect their ladders and other equipment. That does mean restrain the dog.

    Here’s an interesting quote: “When a person in possession of land fails to protect a visitor from a dangerous dog, this type of negligence is sometimes pursued under the doctrine of premises liability. The underlying act or omission is the unreasonable failure of the defendant to eliminate the danger, warn of it, or protect the visitor from it. States that employ the premises liability doctrine in dog bite cases ask whether the victim was a trespasser, licensee or invitee, and permit only the latter two categories of people to recover compensation.”

    Of course, that only bolsters my idea that the owner should be publically humiliated and financially ruined, instead of imposing the death sentence for Congo.

    Oh, and I am not a lawyer. :-)

  43. Traci says:

    “Oh, and I am not a lawyer. :-)”

    Shouldn’t that be accompanied by

    “But I did sleep in a Holiday Inn last night.” ?

    (I couldn’t resist.)

  44. Lynn says:

    Ellis:

    Never for a moment did I think you were a lawyer. And none of us claim to be rocket scientists, psychics, and certainly not racists, as you have declared us. While most of us take great pains to cite our references and to post a message based on what we’ve read in credible journals, who among us can say that the journalist understood all the facts correctly? We can’t; we can only go on the links we have and form opinions on the basis presented. Granted, some bloggers don’t take the time to do the research and instead post a message based on hunch or their perceived understanding, but by and large, many of us post opinions on the basis of the legitimate information at hand.

    You, of course, are totally entitled to your opinion. However I fail to see how it is the fault of the Jameses when in fact there was a prearranged appointment time at 8AM and the laborers decided on their own to show up an hour earlier without consulting the Jameses.
    Your quote was probably taken from http://www.dogbitelaw.com/PAGES/legal_ri.htm which also states that “Broadly speaking, all states hold a person responsible for a dog bite if the person ordered or made the dog attack the victim, or if the person knowingly kept a dog that previously bit a person or exhibited a tendency or intention to someday bite a person. Additionally, almost all states make a person legally liable for negligence that results in any injury caused by a dog, and violating a public health and safety law such as a leash law or a prohibition against dogs running at large if it lead to the dog bite. Some states refer to the doctrine of premises liability when the victim is harmed on the dog owner’s property, but the basis of liability nevertheless is grounded upon negligence.” Of course, this is generic and I do not know New Jersey law.
    I DO know, however, that the laborers entered the property after being told in their own language not to do so. I also know that the dog had never bitten someone before. I also know that the owners did not initiate the attack. Most states address liability in conjunction with negligence, but I fail to see how, when the owner tells the laborers to stay off his property, in THEIR language, and the laborers take it upon themselves to subsequently enter the property anyway, how the Jameses could be liable.
    But here’s the kicker, Ellis: YOU are making the assumption that these dogs are dangerous. You apparently don’t know dogs well, for ALL dogs can be dangerous when they sense fear or are provoked as Congo was. Even a 3# chihuahua. Believe me, my 2 and a half pound Maltese would have had your pants in bloody shreds if you came onto our property without my “all clear” signal.
    Your statement, “When a person in possession of land fails to protect a visitor from a dangerous dog, this type of negligence is sometimes pursued under the doctrine of premises liability. The underlying act or omission is the unreasonable failure of the defendant to eliminate the danger, warn of it, or protect the visitor from it. States that employ the premises liability doctrine in dog bite cases ask whether the victim was a trespasser, licensee or invitee, and permit only the latter two categories of people to recover compensation,” Ellis, is very brittle at best because, you see, the laborers were trespassers. Not until 8AM were the laborers “invitees.” And no, the wife did not invite them into the yard; they just followed her in, unbeknownst to her. James took every precaution to warn the laborers of a potential problem.
    Quite frankly, if a rapist came onto the property and attempted to rape the owner and the dog attacked, the dog would be hailed a hero. [Thanks to whoever posted that thought.]

    I suggest you read the first few sentences of New Jersey dog bite law at: http://www.njlaws.com/dog_bites.htm

    It states [BOLD TYPE MINE]: “If someone hops your fence, trespasses on your land, and your dog bites him, you are not liable. However, New Jersey does impose strict liability if your dog bites someone IF IT IS LOOSE OR IF THE PERSON BITTEN WAS N A PUBLIC PLACE OR PERMITTED ON YOUR PROPERTY. NJSA 4:19-16 provides:
    “The owner of any dog which shall bite a person while such person is on or in a public place, or LAWFULLY on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

    I’m really surprised that James’ lawyer didn’t push that to the limits.

  45. ellis says:

    Lynn, on the same page you link to there is this: “In deciding whether the plaintiff was on or in a public place or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the defendant, you should note that anyone whose presence is **expressly or impliedly** permitted on the property is entitled to the protection of the statute. The permission extends to all areas where the plaintiff may reasonably believe to be included within its scope. DeRobertis v. Randazzo, 94 N.J. 144 (1983).” (emphasis added by me)

    How can any REASONABLE person believe that the laborers were in any way at fault or in any way provoked this horrible attack? Here illegally? Fine ~~ send ‘em back. .25mil sounds like a fair settlement for what obviously were life-changing and horribly disfiguring injuries.

    What’s the difference when the laborers showed-up? Either they were instructed by the homeowner or a contractor as to when and where to be that morning. Either way, and try to wrap your head around this, having to suffer an attack from a large dog with sharp teeth is NOT FITTING PUNISHMENT for showing-up to work early.

    The insurance company (with legal *staff* at-the-ready) thought it best to shovel 250K to an illegal instead of fighting in court to defend the person who bought the policy from them. That in itself speaks volumes to the home owner’s liability.

    You do not know what was said, or what anyone heard. The laborers were there with a purpose that included them being on the property. That they were there 60 minutes before work was supposed to start means nothing. If they showed-up at 8am and started work at 8:15 they probably would have been yelled at.

    Of course, I’m not a Judge, and this would have all been decided by a Judge or jury had the insurance company thought the effort to be worth $250,000.

    (your words, Lynn:) “But here’s the kicker, Ellis: YOU are making the assumption that these dogs are dangerous. You apparently don’t know dogs well, for ALL dogs can be dangerous when they sense fear or are provoked as Congo was. ”

    Oh, Lynn… I so agree with you there. All dogs have the ability to be dangerous. That is why it is the responsibility of the owner to, at the very least, take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of those who enter the premises rightfully. I think where we differ is that you think the laborers had no right to be in/at the place where the attack happened. You even call them trespassers and make the distinction that exactly 60 minutes later they wouldn’t be… even though the adult responsible for controlling the dogs was present at 7am. Insane.

    “Quite frankly, if a rapist came onto the property and attempted to rape the owner and the dog attacked, the dog would be hailed a hero. [Thanks to whoever posted that thought.]”

    Are you inferring that the laborers had malicious intentions? No, of course you’re not. Because, I mean, there’s a big difference between a rapist and someone who you’ve arranged to come and fix something at your house. Right, Lynn? You do understand this, don’t you? :-)

  46. Robert Davis says:

    I posted this piece…

    “Quite frankly, if a rapist came onto the property and attempted to rape the owner and the dog attacked, the dog would be hailed a hero. [Thanks to whoever posted that thought.]”

    And as a reponse to these words “Are you inferring that the laborers had malicious intentions? No, of course you’re not. Because, I mean, there’s a big difference between a rapist and someone who you’ve arranged to come and fix something at your house. Right, Lynn? You do understand this, don’t you? :-)”

    The person was not given permission to get out of the car. They were told to get back in in their native toungue, they beat the puppies (malicious) and attacked the wife by grabbing her and escalating the issue.

    The permission to enter the property was revoked when the man said get back in the car. There is a difference between dangerous dogs and dogs that protect their family. These dogs protected their own. I would certainly not want a breed of dog that would not protect me if I was being pulled to the ground. The owner did was right and told the man to get in the car since his dogs had not been introduced to them and he preferred them not to be startled by strangers. The owner made a specific time for the workers to come out so he could put his dogs away for everyones sake. It is sad to see some jump on the evil bandwagon that the owner was at fault and then Congo must die….the workers got bit because they provoked the attack. Period. I believe the judge was in error. I hope the Gov. will stay the execution…..wish the dog could escape from dog jail somehow.

  47. shibadiva says:

    Congo is in doggie hell right now. According to reports, he is so depressed, he has to be hand-fed. If he’s in there for the duration of the appeal, I hope he is able to adjust somehow.

    The whole thing just demonstrates (again) that humans are dangerous to animals.

  48. Lynn says:

    Ellis: November 14th, 2007 at 4:09 am

    “Lynn, on the same page you link to there is this: “In deciding whether the plaintiff was on or in a public place or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the defendant, you should note that anyone whose presence is **expressly or impliedly** permitted ”

    There was no implication that they could access the property in that James expressly prohibiting the laborers from accessing the property.

    “What’s the difference when the laborers showed-up? Either they were instructed by the homeowner or a contractor as to when and where to be that morning.”

    The concurred upon time was 8AM. Then the laborers, of their own volition, chose to come an hour earlier, which was not acceptable to the property owner. And I have to tell you that when I make appointments with anyone, be it professional or residentally-related, I make the appointments at a specific time because I have other commitments. For someone to decide it’s ok to come an hour earlier or later is rude, inappropriate, unprofessional, and is an abuse of my time.

    “Either way, and try to wrap your head around this, having to suffer an attack from a large dog with sharp teeth is NOT FITTING PUNISHMENT for showing-up to work early.”

    Most people don’t deserve dog bites. However, anyone who grabs a member of my family to the point where the person is pulled to the ground, or attacks one of MY animals, is very deserving of being bitten and then some.

    “The insurance company (with legal *staff* at-the-ready) thought it best to shovel 250K to an illegal instead of fighting in court to defend the person who bought the policy from them. That in itself speaks volumes to the home owner’s liability.”

    No, it only speaks to the insurance company’s unwillingness to get caught up in what could potentially be a long, drawn out affair that would cost hefty insurance company resources. Settlement is NOT an admission of guilt. They knew it was an iffy situation and decided it best to just pay it off and make it go away.

    “You do understand this, don’t you? :-)”

    I understand that your final remark is a poor attempt to intimidate me. You are not capable of doing so.

    And, yes, I am a very reason person. You have no idea.

  49. ellis says:

    Lynn, if I wanted to intimidate you I would point out your poor grammar and vocabulary. :-)

    I think it’s somewhat amusing how many people here harp over and over the same lines: they showed-up an hour early, they disregarded instructions given in their native language (that they *must* have heard), one of them ‘attacked’ the wife and beat helpless puppies with a rake, blah blah blah.

    The insurance company would have either gone to court or settled at a much smaller amount if it thought the victim was in any way at fault or the home owner’s liability could be mitigated.

    The laborer probably thought he was going to work! Maybe he is deaf or just plain stupid… and guess what? Stupid counts in his favor and against the home owner. He (the laborer) would have never grabbed the wife if the dog wasn’t threatening him. He (the laborer) was allowed to exit a car at a location where he knew he would be working, and the dumba** owner knew they would be there shortly.

    It is the owner’s responsibility to provide a safe environment for people who have right to be on the property. That includes guests, family members, and people who are asked to come in to do repairs. You can’t go calling someone a trespasser before 8am and not after 8am, Lynn. That isn’t how it works.

    Folks, I love animals too, and Congo’s possible demise is just bad news on top of an already bad situation… but humans are SUPPOSED to be REASONABLE in thought… and how any of you can say that liability for this issue rests anywhere but with the owner is crazy.

    I’ll say it again. Congo shouldn’t be on the chopping block. Congo’s owner should.

  50. shibadiva says:

    Congo has been badly let down by the humans involved here.

    I seem to recall reading that the guy’s gate was open because his wife had been looking for a straying puppy, so the dogs were effectively loose. Maybe Mr. James didn’t know that. Or if he did, he preferred to finish his leisurely shower.

    If tradespeople showed up at my fenced property an hour early and my dogs happened to be out for a potty break, I’d be out there right then to make sure no gate was breached, that the dogs were brought back inside, and that nobody came near the yard until that happened.

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