A Vietnam appeal court on Wednesday decided to significantly reduce the damages an instance court in Hanoi had demanded that the owner of a hybrid German Shepherd pay to a woman who was bitten by the dog in 2013. Accordingly, defendant Phan Thi Thuy, a 60-year-old woman, the dog’s owner, was required to pay the plaintiff, 68-year-old Dang Thi Toan, only VND5.6 million (US$260) instead of the VND18 million ($836) decided by the Cau Giay District People’s Court at the first instance trial in September 2014. Toan told the court that Thuy had to compensate her for both mental and physical damage she suffered after the biting incident that occurred in the latter’s house in Cau Giay, on August 4, 2013. She also demanded that Thuy pay her for loss of income during the one month of hospital treatment she needed after being bitten. The district court then judged that the dog’s owner had to pay the victim VND18 million in total damages, but Thuy did not agree to the verdict and appealed it. At the appeal trial opened yesterday by the Hanoi City People's Court, Thuy told the jury that she had warned Toan about her cruel dog, but the woman still opened the gate to come into the house to ask the host about the leasing services she offered to students.
While the two women were talking, the hybrid dog rushed out and bit Toan on her leg. Thuy also told the jury that when Toan was in hospital for treatment for the bite, Thuy’s family took care of her, so the victim’s demand for compensation was unacceptable. After taking all of this into account, the appeal court said both sides were at fault in the case: Thuy did not install a warning sign about the German Shepherd while Toan knew about the canine but still entered the property. The jury also determined that the total actual damage suffered by Toan was more than VND10 million ($465), not VND18 million, as decided by the district court. Based on these grounds, the jury announced that the two sides shared the damage, which means Thuy was required to pay Toan only VND5.6 million.