Endresen v. Allen

In Endresen v. Allen, 574 P.2d 1219 (Wyo. 1978), the plaintiff was injured when his motorcycle struck the defendants' dog while the dog chased the motorcycle down the street. The plaintiff sought to recover under theories of common-law negligence and violation of an ordinance forbidding dogs running at large. The opinion reversing summary judgment in favor of the defendants was based on the negligence theory, but a discussion of the defendants' prior knowledge of their dog's propensity to escape from their yard sounds much like a discussion of the scienter element under strict liability. Id. at 1221-22. Indeed, the defendants cited McCarthy in support of their argument, causing us to comment that this "misses the point that we are not concerned with the vicious propensities of the dog but only whether defendants" could have foreseen the plaintiff's injury. Endresen, 574 P.2d at 1222. Unfortunately, the confusion among causes of action is heightened by the fact that, while later discussing whether both defendants could be liable when only one of them left the dog united, we did state that "the common-law duty to protect against harmful propensities of the animal is one that is imposed upon the owners or keepers of the animal without regard to negligence except that there must be knowledge of the propensities." Id. at 1226.