Jones v. Manhart

Jones v. Manhart, 120 Ariz. 338, 585 P.2d 1250 (App. 1978), involved statutes that imposed strict liability on a dog owner for damages caused by a dog at large and made a dog owner strictly liable for damage done by a dog to a person in a public place or lawfully on private property. The Court rejected the defendant's argument that the statutes abrogated the common-law rule of dog owner liability. Id. at 340, 585 P.2d at 1252. The Court reasoned that "the coverage of the statutes is not identical to that of the common law" and determined that "the purpose of the dog-bite statutes was to expand the common law protection, not to diminish it." Id. In doing so, the Court followed "the principle that 'statutes are not to be construed as effecting any change in the common law beyond that which is clearly indicated. . . . If possible, statutory enactments should be construed as consistent with the common law.'" Id.