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Settlement Reached in Dog Death Lawsuit Brought Against DJ Samantha Ronson

In August 2010, an unfortunate incident occurred involving a dog owned by celebrity DJ, Samantha Ronson, and another pooch and its owner that resided in Ronson’s West Hollywood building. Ronson’s English bulldog, Cadillac, escaped from her apartment and attacked and killed Tiger, her neighbor’s Maltese. According to Perez Hilton, Cadillac also attacked Tiger’s owner, Farnouche Kamran, who incurred only minor injuries (to which the extent is currently unknown). Kamran stated that Cadillac got out of Ronson's apartment as result of a person’s presence in the open doorway.

Since then, Cadillac has made several moves after the City of West Hollywood declared her a ‘dangerous dog’ (see TMZ’s copy of the official statement) and banned her from the city. Cadillac now lives in Venice, CA with Ronson.

My condolences go out to Karman and her family, as I've seen mild to severe animal attacks, some even being lethal, during my years of veterinary practice. Having your pet get attacked right in front of you is a horrible trauma that no pet owner should have to endure (see: Jessica Simpson's Dog, Daisy, Missing After Coyote Attack).

In the aftermath of the trauma, Kamran sued Ronson, Empire West Homeowners and Monica Holtzer, their building’s landlord, for $750,000. The suit has been settled out of court for an undisclosed and smaller sum. Karman’s lawyer, Ronald Richards, told TMZ that although attaining the settlement was important, "It was all about vindicating the death of Tiger, my client's beloved companion and nothing more."

Although Kamran did not achieve her full settlement, she still received a substantial amount considering that in the state of California, our pooches are considered property and therefore are only worth the cost or market value of the dog.

In California when a dog incurs an attack of another dog all responsibility falls upon the attacking dog’s owner. According to,"When a dog is injured or killed as a result of a third party's negligent, reckless or intentional conduct, the dog's owner is entitled to receive "compensatory" damages. If the dog survived, this would mean the veterinary treatment costs and possibly an additional sum for the dog owner's emotional distress. If the dog did not survive, then the dog owner should receive the veterinary treatment costs, the costs of basic cremation, the current fair market value of the dog, and possibly an additional sum for the dog owner's emotional distress."

The fact that Ronson’s dog attacked and killed other dog is quite tragic in itself. Yet, what sort of lifestyle restrictions does Cadillac face now that she's been banned from West Hollywood? Is Ronson legally required to quarantine Cadillac to a specific environment so she cannot harm other dogs or people. Additionally, could a court order Cadillac go through any specific training to make her potentially less dangerous?

As National Dog Bite Prevention Week is coming up soon (May 21-26, 2013), I hope that Cadillac’s incident will teach pet owners on a worldwide basis about responsible caretaking and dog-bite preventative measures. Many excellent tips on this topic are given on the AVMA’s Dog Bite Emergencies webpage.

Please stay tuned for updates on this and other breaking celebrity pet news by signing up for for email delivery of my Pet-Lebrity News (enter your email and press the “SUBSCRIBE” button on the middle-right of this webpage).

Good luck,

Dr. PM

Twitter @PatrickMahaney

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English Bulldog via Shutterstock

Patrick Mahaney, VMD

Patrick Mahaney, VMD

Patrick Mahaney takes a close look at celebrities, their pets, and other hot-button pet parenting topics from a veterinary perspective. His path to becoming a veterinarian was not the pursuit of a childhood dream, but was rather a serendipitous migration from his original plan, which was to pursue a career in marine biology or fine arts. To satisfy his creative urges, Dr. Mahaney writes a pet health column, guest blogs for Perez Hilton's, and created (CPN), which puts a veterinary spin on issues pertaining to celebrities, their pets, and public health.

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