Dublin woman attacked by neighbour’s cat settles case

High Court hears victim suffered ‘nasty lacerations’ from cat with ‘abnormal’ nature

A woman who suffered "nasty lacerations" to her hand after being attacked in her south Dublin home by her neighbour's cat has sued in the High Court. The cat, it was claimed, had an "abnormal" nature.

The case, which was before the court for assessment of damages only, settled on Thursday on undisclosed terms after talks between the sides and was struck out.

Earlier, the court was told the attack occurred after charity co-ordinator Maureen O'Hagan attempted to shoo the black cat out of her Sandycove home at 3am.

Noel MacMahon SC, for Ms O’Hagan, said she suffered four nasty lacerations to her hand after the cat grabbed it.

The cuts later became infected and she required a procedure under local anesthetic where an infected wound was washed out and repaired, he said.

Mischievous

Ms O'Hagan (59), Moyallen, Elton Park, Sandycove, had sued her next door neighbours, Marty and Diane Olson for negligence, breach of duty and nuisance in the control, care and supervision of their cat.

She claimed the cat had a mischievous and abnormal nature which, she alleged, the Olsons knew about.

Mr MacMahon told Mr Justice Kevin Cross the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Ms O’Hagan had discovered the cat after it entered her home on October 5th, 2015, and she tried to shoo it away. It jumped on her and bit her on the right hand, index finger and knuckle joint.

It was claimed the Olsons failed to control the cat adequately or at all and caused or permitted the cat to bite Ms O’Hagan.

It was further alleged the Olsons failed to heed complaints previously made by Ms O’Hagan about the cat’s vicious and dangerous propensity after Ms O’Hagan witnessed the cat acting aggressively on her property on a number of previous occasions.

Ms O’Hagan further claimed the Olsons failed to keep the cat away as they had previously said they would try to do and allowed it to roam freely and enter Ms O’Hagan’s property when they knew or ought to have known it was a cause of concern for her as she had previously complained to them.

Muzzled

She claimed the Olsons used their domestic property to keep a cat with a dangerous propensity which was caused to escape from their property to the O’Hagans. She also alleged failure to have the cat properly trained or to keep it muzzled.

Ms O Hagan attended her doctor and was prescribed oral antibiotics but it was claimed her hand failed to respond and deteriorated on the second day on antibiotics.

She was referred to the emergency department of Blackrock Clinic and the acute plastics trauma unit for further management.

It was noted she had four bite wounds on her right hand but the main concern was a penetrating cat bite on her right index finger. The infected wound had to be washed out and repaired under local anaesthetic.

It was claimed Ms O’Hagan complains of residual pain, swelling and redness on her right hand and had to have six sessions of physiotherapy afterwards. She also said she has been left with a scar.