Augsburger v. Homestead Mut. Ins. Co.Annotate this Case
George Kontos owned property that his daughter lived in with her family and multiple dogs. Plaintiff was injured on Kontos’ property when she was bitten multiple times by the dogs. Plaintiff filed a complaint against Kontos and his insurance company, alleging that Kontos was liable for her injuries under Wis. Stat. 174.02(1), which imposes strict liability on dog owners for injuries caused by their dogs. The circuit court determined that Kontos was a statutory owner because he gave shelter to his daughter and her dogs. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) mere ownership of the property on which a dog resides is not sufficient to establish that an individual is an owner of a dog under section 174.02; and (2) Kontos was not an “owner” under the statute where he did not legally own or keep the dogs and because he was not a “harborer” as evidenced by the totality of the circumstances.