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Celebrity Cujos and a history of dog bites in Hollywood

Celebrity Cujos and a history of dog bites in Hollywood

Doesn’t it seem like the only images of celebrities off the red carpet depict them walking through the park in sweatpants and a wrinkled tee shirt with adorably overpriced purebreds?

It’s so cute it almost makes us feel bad for unearthing their worst moments with a sprinkling of witticisms and sarcasm.

But if we didn’t, who else would hold prissy heiresses accountable for dogs that live in designer handbags, periodically poking their heads out to yip at passing waiters and crying babies?

Thankfully, with its “strict liability” philosophy, our beautiful state of Washington goes much further than most to protect its citizens from the Cujos of the world. Three easy questions will sniff out who has liability for a dog bite.

Question 1: Did a dog bite you?

We didn’t survive law school by ignoring the obvious questions. So, before you run down to the lawsuit store and grab whatever’s on clearance in the Personal Injury aisle, you need proof you were actually bitten by a dog.

Thanks to a disagreement between famed marriage counselor Dr. Phil and his wife, in 2011 close family friend and co-star Janet Harris had no trouble proving she was bitten by Maggie the Korean Jindo.

While screening a Dr. Phil Christmas special in his home, Ms. Harris was granted a reprieve from the daytime drivel by a nasty dog bite. Mrs. Phil called her husband to tell him she was going to take Janet to the hospital, but Phil the daytime do-gooder insisted Ms. Harris shouldn’t go to the hospital…

The feel-good doctor feared his pop-psychiatry empire would be dogged by negative publicity.

Apparently, when given the choice between Janet’s hand and his personal brand, Friendly Phil preferred it was Janet’s hand that was mauled.

Ms. Harris traded in the talk show sofas for judicial benches and gifted her former co-star with a Christmas gift he’ll never forget: a steaming pile of media exposure, right on his front lawn.

Question 2: Does the dog have a legal guardian?

As much as we would love to argue that Kris Jenner’s awful parenting is responsible for the trail of discarded pets the Kardashian girls have left behind, the only person wholly liable for a dog and its actions is its current guardian.

Desperate Housewives star Kim Richards became well aware of that legal principle after her pit bull, Kingsley, violently ravaged five people in 2014.

They always say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, and Ms. Richards didn’t take any action to prevent another incident. Kingsley attacked a terrified house guest two short years later.

It was clear Kim learned her lesson the first time, however. Immediately following the bite, the reality TV star refused to dial 911 until Kingsley’s victim promised to publicly claim she was attacked by a stray dog.

Later on, Ms. Richards specifically cited a fear of negative publicity, a phobia “Philanthropist” Phil could have helped her conquer if she hadn’t stormed out of her interview on his show.

Question 3: Were you in a public space, or a private place you had been invited to?

Admittedly, we may be overdoing the jabs about celebrities and private jets, but this anecdote isn’t one of our jokes. During a private flight between NYC and DC in 2015, Barbra Streisand’s Coton de Tuléar -- which is apparently a dog, not a French pastry -- bit a stewardess, resulting in several stitches.

Because the friendly flight attendant had been invited to the flight by way of employment, she had every right to sue for personal injury.

But unlike the previous celebrities, Streisand immediately apologized and took full responsibility. No gavel, Latin, or powdered wigs necessary.

Hypothetically, had Streisand’s éclair of a dog bit a stowaway paparazzi, the 73-year-old singer could have sat back and enjoyed the show without fear of legal reproach.

Three yes’s mean there are three Renton attorneys who want to help

The state of Washington has some of the strongest protections in the country for victims of dog bites.

It also has some of the best family law attorneys in the country.

Put down our tacky tabloid and give us a call about your personal injury case today.