The Indiana Supreme Court has limited local government liability for dog bites under the Indiana Tort Claims Act.

In Davis v. Animal Control – City of Evansville, the Court unanimously held that plaintiffs cannot sue local governments for failure to enforce local animal control ordinances because those claims are barred by the law enforcement immunity under the Tort Claims Act.  In Davis, the City of Evansville was on notice that a dog was vicious. Evansville’s animal control ordinance required the removal of the animal.  Unfortunately, the animal was not captured and ultimately bit a young child.  The Court concluded that the crux of the plaintiff’s claim was that Evansville had failed to properly enforce the animal control ordinance and held that a claim based on this failure was barred by the law enforcement immunity applicable under the Tort Claims Act.

The Court’s full opinion can be found at: http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/06211101fsj.pdf