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Texas veterinarian cleared in rabies lawsuit
Owners failure to vaccinate puts burden back on himself.
A Lamar County, Texas, jury has dismissed a negligence and liability suit against Wally Kraft, DVM, owner of Animal Health Center in Paris, Texas, after finding the plaintiff responsible for 90 percent of his personal injury claims because he failed to vaccinate his dog, according to a release issued by Kraft's lawyer.
“It is extremely rare for a domesticated animal in Texas to test positive for rabies,” says attorney William Chamblee of Chamblee Ryan Kershaw and Anderson in Dallas, who represented Kraft and the clinic. “Jurors saw clearly that the plaintiff had accepted control and responsibility of his dog at the clinic and that he was warned of the dog's aggressive behavior.”
William Ray Shirley of Bogata, Texas, filed the suit after his 2-year-old black mouth cur, Fred, bit him while Shirley and the dog were at Kraft's clinic.
Shirley had brought the dog to Animal Health Center in January with concerns about its health. Kraft conducted tests and suggested keeping the dog overnight for observation. The dog became agitated the following morning and Kraft called Shirley in hopes that the dog would calm down after seeing its owner, the release states. At that point Shirley decided to take the dog home.
After the kennel door was opened and the dog attached to a leash, the dog bit Shirley on the hand and groin. The clinic euthanized the dog and sent samples to the Texas Department of State Health Services, which returned a positive rabies result. Shirley was given post-rabies-exposure injections over the course of the next few weeks.
Shirley sought payment for medical expenses, pain and suffering, physical impairment and exemplary damages.