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Hetherington v The Trustees Thornberry Animal Sanctuary - Andrea Ribchester-Hodgson & Sarah Wright, Spencers Solicitors

20/02/17. Rotherham County Court. Case number: A71YP448. Accident date: 14 December 2013. Settlement date: 27 January 2016. Gross settlement: £25,000.00.


On 14 December 2013, H attended a jumble sale that was being held at the Defendant’s animal sanctuary. He was a regular visitor and attended the jumble sale every week, but on the day of the accident was not familiar with most of the staff helping out.

H was in the outside yard holding a carrier bag in his right hand with a tripod over his left shoulder. As H walked along he passed one of the Animal Sanctuary volunteers who had a German Shepherd dog on a lead. He said ‘hello’ to the volunteer but did not stop, acknowledge or approach the dog. Suddenly the dog lunged up from a sitting position and attacked H, biting his left forearm.

H had not put his arm out to the dog or made any sudden movements before the attack, he was very frightened but managed to get the dog off and free his arm. H was in shock and a lot of pain and was bleeding very badly.

The dog, now known to be called Tyson, was not muzzled and the volunteer holding his lead was unable to cope with his sudden attack on H.

H assumed the Defendant’s staff knew of the dog’s character and were happy for it to be amongst the public attending the jumble sale. H had a German Shepherd dog of his own and was used to being around dogs.

H was later told that Tyson was a resident dog that lived at the sanctuary rather than being a rescue dog.

H suffered deep lacerations on his distal left forearm. The branch of the superficial radial nerve was badly damaged and divided and was considered un-repairable. H continued to have numbness and pain over part of his left hand and distal forearm and a loss of sensation in his thumb, and considerable scarring from the attack and subsequent surgery. H additionally suffered psychological sequelae...

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