PREVIOUSLY HANDLED BY
OFFICE OF ELIZABETH L ELLIOTT
Example Equine Case
Office of Elizabeth L. Elliott also takes equine cases. Such
cases include wrongful deaths and breach of contract cases.
The following is an example of the type of case handled by
“Annie,” a Tennessee Walking Horse mare, was
placed in the care of a boarding and training facility. Her
owner/guardian and the stable owner entered a written
boarding contract which contained a release of liability
afternoon, a stable hand found Annie lying down in a paddock
with a nail in her foot. The stable owner pulled the nail
out of the foot. She then walked Annie back to her stall.
She cleaned her foot and gave her Bute. She attempted to use
a knife to find the entry hole for the nail, but was
unsuccessful. She then went to a hardware store and
purchased a tetanus vaccine. Upon her return, she
administered the vaccine to Annie. She made no attempt to
contact her owner/guardian or a veterinarian.
Unfortunately, it was necessary to humanely euthanize Annie
due to her injuries. Her owner/guardian retained the Law
Office of Elizabeth L. Elliott to file an action against the
boarding facility. The case went to arbitration. The
arbitrator found in favor of Annie’s owner. Ms. Elliott
successfully argued that the release language in the
boarding contract was not binding due to the gross
negligence of the defendants.
In the late hours of a 2007 night, a
female minor under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
lost control of her car while going around a corner. She
crashed into a fence and went on into a pasture next to the
The car severely damaged the fence and
pasture, but neither was as significant as the damage caused
to Honey, a very pregnant mare, and her unborn foal who were
being cared for by the landowner. Due to the shock and
stress suffered by Honey, she lost the unborn foal.
Honey’s owner filed an action against the parents of the
minor. Ms. Elliott successfully negotiated a settlement
for Honey’s owner due to the loss of the unborn foal.
In 2010, a woman adopted “Achilles,” a horse, from a rescue
operation. In late 2011, the she moved Achilles to another
boarding facility. In early 2011, she notified the rescue
operation of her intention to move Achilles again. Out of
the blue, the rescue organization complained that the woman
had breached the adoption contract and sued for return of
Achilles. The adoptive owner hired Ms. Elliott several
months after the lawsuit had begun. Through mediation,
Ms. Elliott successfully obtained a settlement agreement.
Achilles happily lives with Ms. Elliott’s client.
Example Custody and Ownership Dispute Cases
over the ownership or custody of an animal companion can be
particularly painful. Such cases arise under a variety of
situations. The typical custody dispute occurs upon the
breakup of an intimate relationship or a divorce. Other
scenarios may also occur such as a caretaker refusing to
return an animal or an adoptive family refusing to give an
animal back to the original owner/guardian. Here are several
examples of cases that the Law Office of Elizabeth L.
Elliott has handled. In each case the animal companion was
returned to her client.
Chihuahua Mix –
adopted Chihuahua mix from the Willamette Humane Society.
She formed a deep connection with him. The woman resided
with an elderly woman. When the elderly woman died a dispute
arose over the guardianship/ownership of the Chihuahua. The
estate took the Chihuahua. The owner/guardian hired Ms.
Elliott to re-obtain ownership and custody of him. After
filing suit and a significant amount of negotiations, the
Chihuahua was returned to his owner/guardian.
Lab/Greyhound/Pit Bull Mix –
Two sisters entrusted their beloved canine companion with
friends while they took summer jobs out-of-state. They
arranged to gather their dog from their friend upon
completion of their work. The friend allowed two mutual
friends to assume custody of the dog on a temporary basis.
The sisters were informed of the arrangement. They contacted
the mutual friends who agreed to care for the dog. Upon
completion of the summer jobs, the mutual friends refused to
return the sisters’ canine companion. In totally anguish,
the sisters contacted the Law Office of Elizabeth L.
Elliott. After much negotiation, the canine companion was
returned to the sisters.
Miniature Schnauzer – A family
conditionally agreed to adopt out their miniature Schnauzer.
They were working very long hours and felt that they did not
have enough time to commit to her. The adoptive family was
informed that the original owners of the Schnauzer were not
certain if they could bear the pain of leaving their canine
companion. Less than 24 hours after adopting out the
miniature Schnauzer, the original family called the adoptive
family and told them that they wanted her returned. The
adoptive family refused. Ms. Elliott successfully
obtained the return of the miniature Schnauzer to the
Example Dangerous Dog Citation and Designation Cases
can see by the following examples, in many instances,
owners/guardians of so called “dangerous” animals are
entirely unaware that anything has occurred with their pet.
They are only “informed” when a citation or dangerous dog
declaration arrives in the mail days, or even weeks, after
the fact. At that point, they are then faced with proving
the situation did not occur. Read these cases below to
realize you are not alone and discover that there may be
solutions to your problem. Some of the headings include
language taken directly from citations that you may have
received. In each case, the dogs represented by the Law
Office of Elizabeth L. Elliott returned to live with their
Dangerous Dog Declaration for Killing a Domestic Animal
Great Danes –
Great Danes allegedly attacked and killed a small dog in
Seattle. They were impounded by the Seattle Animal Shelter.
This entire event shocked their owner/guardian. They had
been nothing but gentle creatures throughout their
director of the shelter made the preliminary determination
that the Great Danes were dangerous dogs under the Seattle
Code. Thus, began a long battle to save their lives. After
extensive negotiations, the Great Danes were released
into their owner’s custody.
Permitting a Dog to Bite A Human
A Giant Schnauzer – The caretaker of a
Giant Schnauzer received a citation for allowing a dog to
bite a human under Seattle Municipal Code 9.25.084 G(1)
after an encounter between the Schnauzer and a man at a
local coffee shop. The handler retained Elizabeth L. Elliott
to assist her in defending against the citation and
preventing a possible dangerous dog complaint. A dangerous
dog designation would result in removal of the dog from the
jurisdiction or euthanization. Ms. Elliott succeeded in
obtaining the dismissal of the citation. The Schnauzer
is now happily residing with his owners in Seattle.
“Running at Large” and “Keeping a Vicious Animal”
owner of a Rottweiler-mix in Eastern Washington was informed
by police that his dog had allegedly attacked a Chihuahua.
He received citations for allowing a dog to run at large and
for “Keeping a Vicious Animal.” His dog was impounded and
was in danger of being euthanized if the citation was not
dismissed. Ms. Elliott successfully argued that the
jurisdiction did not file a notice of infraction as required
by law and that the vicious animal ordinance was vague,
overbroad and deprived dog owners of procedural due
process. The citation was dismissed and the dog was
returned to his family.
“Nuisance” and “Order of Removal”
County Animal Control ordered the removal of a
Labrador/Great Pyrnees mix from the county after allegedly
biting a delivery person five months earlier. Ms. Elliott
represented the dog and his owners in their appeal before
the King County Board of Appeal. She argued that the
alleged bite was provoked and
successfully negotiated a settlement that did
not require the owners/guardians to find a new home for
their beloved dog.
Dog Approaching a Human in a Menacing Fashion
German Shepherd –
Shepherd was accused of running out of his house and chasing
a postal delivery person into his van. The City of Seattle
issued citations to his owner for a dog displaying a
menacing behavior under SMC 9.25.084(G)(2) and a dog running
at large under SMC 9.25.084(A). All charges were
Giant Schnauzers –
caretaker for three Giant Schnauzers took them to a Seattle
park. While there they encountered two human adults and a
child. Later, the caretaker received three citations for
allowing a dog off leash in a park under SMC 18.12.08(A) and
three citations for permitting a dog, when unprovoked, to
approach a human in a menacing fashion under SMC
9.25.084(G)(2). The adults that the caretaker had seen had
filed reports with Seattle Animal Control. They complained
that the three Giant Schnauzers had charged them in the park
and barked at them aggressively. The charges totally
surprised the handler of the three dogs. After negotiations
with the City of Seattle, Ms. Elliott succeeding in getting
two of the citations for permitting a dog, when
unprovoked, to approach a human in a menacing fashion under
SMC 9.25.084(G)(2) dismissed.
Biting a Domestic Animal
mixed breed dog ran out the door of his house to greet a dog
walking past on the sidewalk. The owner of the other dog
accused the Chow of biting her dog. She reported the Chow to
Seattle Animal Control. The owners/guardians of the Chow
received citations for permitting a dog to bite a domestic
animal under SMC 9.25.084(G)(1); permitting a dog to run off
leash under SMC 9.25.084(A); failing to license under SMC
2.25.080(A); and failing to vaccinate for rabies under SMC
9.25.049(I). The citations for permitting a dog to bite a
domestic animal; failure to license; and failure to
vaccinate were dismissed.
Boston Terrier –
year old female Boston Terrier was being walked by her
owner/guardian when she was approached by a woman walking
another small female dog. The dog charged the Boston
Terrier; stuck her face right in the Terrier’s face; and
barked. The Boston Terrier responded by allegedly nipping
the other dog’s nose. The owner/guardian of the Boston
Terrier received a citation under SMC 9.35.084G(1) for
permitting a dog to bite a domestic animal. Ms. Elliott
succeeded in obtaining the dismissal of the citation.
Dangerous Dog Declaration for Inflicting Severe Injury on a
altercation occurred between a Red Heeler and a
Schnauzer/Pug Mix allegedly resulting in an extensive injury
to the owner of the Schnauzer/Pug Mix. The Red Heeler was
declared a dangerous dog by Thurston County for inflicting
severe injury on a human being without provocation on public
or private property. (TCC 9.10.070(B)(2)(a)). The owners of
the Red Heeler were extremely concerned about the conditions
imposed upon their dog. Ms. Elliott presented evidence that
the Red Heeler could not have inflicted the bite suffered by
the owner of the Schnauzer/Pug Mix. The County determined
that the “victim” did not present proof beyond a reasonable
doubt that the Red Heeler inflicted the injury that she
suffered. Though there was evidence of a history of
aggressive behavior, the Dangerous Dog Designation was
rescinded and a Potentially Dangerous Dog Designation
imposed. The County imposed more limited restrictions on the
Red Heeler. It granted the owners the right to have the
designation reviewed in two years.
Potentially Dangerous Dog Declaration for Inflicting
a Domestic Animal
German Shepherd Mix – A Jack Russell
Terrier was brutally attacked by a pack of dogs. Two owners
received potentially dangerous dog declarations and nuisance
dog citations. One owner appealed the potentially dangerous
dog designation issued under
That person owned a German Shepherd Mix. The owners of the
severely injured Jack Russell Terrier hired the Law Office
of Elizabeth Lorraine Elliott to represent them at the
appeal hearing. Ms. Elliott successfully assisted them in
presenting their testimony and she persuasively argued that
the potentially dangerous dog designation was appropriate.
The King County Board of Appeals upheld the potentially
dangerous dog declaration.
Potentially Dangerous Dog Declaration for Killing Livestock
Retriever and a Black Retriever Mix got out of their
backyard in Lake Stevens. Although their owners/guardians
were still not home, the Retrievers returned to their yard
later in the day. Several days later, their owners/guardians
received two citations for dogs running at large and two
potentially dangerous dog citations under LSMC 5.28.040. The
Retrievers had allegedly killed chickens belonging to a
neighbor. The citations took the owners of the Retrieves
totally by surprise. After hearing on the matter, the
Potentially Dangerous Dog Designation for the Golden
Retriever was removed. The Golden Retriever was allowed to
live restriction free in the City of
conditions were imposed on the Black Retriever Mix.
Siberian Husky –
Siberian Husky was declared a dangerous dog by the Dupont
Police Department after allegedly killing a cat. The owners
of the Husky were distraught over his actions and over the
label imposed upon their dog. The Husky and his owners were
represented by the Law office of Elizabeth Lorraine Elliott
in the appeal of the dangerous dog designation. After the
hearing, the Chief of Police placed the Husky on a 6 months
probationary period. If the Husky did not have any reported
behavior violations during this period, he would not be
labeled a dangerous dog. The Husky successfully passed
this period of time and is not considered a dangerous dog.
He is now happily living with his family in the City of