Watch Out for Dog Poop

11/23/2010

Robert Holloway really stepped in it when he went to PetSmart to pick up some bird seed.  According to a lawsuit filed in federal court, Holloway slipped on a pile of dog feces, fell and hurt his back. He also hit his head in the fall, knocking out four of his false teeth.

What does this mean? 

He's suing PetSmart for $1 million.

PetSmart has filed an initial reply claiming it was not negligent. PetSmart claims that pet accidents are a fact of life in its stores, where leashed pets are welcome visitors.

Holloway's suit says that PetSmart "negligently allowed animals to enter the premises and deposit feces in such a manner as to create a dangerous and hazardous condition."  The employees either should have known there was a pile of feces on the floor, or if they did know, they should have cleaned it up before Holloway stepped in it, the suit says.

PetSmart spokeswoman Jessica White said employees are trained to clean up messes and customers are encouraged to clean up after their pets. Every store has "oops" stations, clearly marked, with clean-up supplies.

PetSmart does have some legal precedent going for it.  In 2008, a woman filed a suit after she slipped and fell in dog urine at the same store.  This case was dismissed because the woman failed to show that any store employee knew there was urine on the floor.

I would think a feces case would be decided the same as a urine case, but who knows.