Pet shop owner says plaintiff tripped on lead as her dog ran through her legs

Petzone, Coolock, denies negligence in case of woman who claims she broke leg after tripping on lip of store door

A pet shop owner has told the High Court a woman did not trip on a lip of a door in his store but over her own dog’s lead as her pet ran through her legs.

Kieran Stenson, owner of Petzone, Coolock, claims Carole Vickery tripped over the Glen of Imaal terrier she had brought to the shop’s groomer to have its nails clipped.

Ms Vickery (61), of Adare Drive, Coolock, sued Petzone Ltd, of Coolock Village, and Mr Stenson over the accident in August 2014. She claims she broke her leg and was hospitalised for some time as a result of the accident.

The defendants deny negligence.


Pharmacist Jennifer Rigney, who was working on the day of the accident in her pharmacy directly opposite the pet store, told the court on Wednesday that she looked out the window and saw Ms Vickery stumble after she tried to avoid stepping on her dog which had run in front of her.

On Thursday, Mr Stenson, who is the landlord of Ms Rigney’s pharmacy as well as of a number of other units in Coolock Village, said he witnessed the accident and “the dog was responsible for her injuries”.

He said he had been in the post office unit, which he is also postmaster of, when he saw Ms Vickery go into the pet shop grooming parlour.

He “could see a bit of activity with the dog and I went over (to the groomers) to see if everything was ok”.

He said that as Ms Vickery was leaving he held the front door of the pet shop open for her as it was a heavy door.

“She turned around and headed out the door and the dog was on a leash held by a gentleman.

“The dog had seen her going and ran out after her between her legs and the leash tripped her up”, he said.

He heard the man holding the leash saying: “‘that bloody old dog; it’s a bloody nuisance’, or words to that effect”.

Asked by his counsel, Miriam Reilly SC, about evidence given by Ms Vickery’s son that the dog was not even on the ground when his mother fell, Mr Stenson said he saw the groomer handing the dog over to the man and the dog darted out the door while on the lead.

What her son said was “totally incorrect”, he said.

Cross-examined by David McGrath SC, for Ms Vickery, on why he had not revealed as part of the pre-trial process the fact that the pharmacist had provided a note about the accident a day afterward, Mr Stenson said he could not remember what he had said as part of pre-trial discovery as it was years after the accident.

He considered there was only a “slight difference” between what he said in evidence about Ms Vickery falling over the leash and what had been claimed in his defence that the dog went through her legs and she fell.

Counsel put it to him that the pharmacist had been described as an independent witness but she was Mr Stenson’s tenant. “Yes”, he replied “and she is a very good one”.

He disagreed with evidence given by the Vickerys that he was not in the shop at all at the time.

Mr Justice Tony O’Connor said he would give his decision on Friday.