Vestil vs. IAC | G.R. No.

74431 November 6, 1989 | FACTS •On July 29, 1915, Theness was bitten by a dog while she was playing with a child of the petitioners in the house of the late Vicente Miranda, the father of Purita Vestil. •She was rushed to the hospital but although she was discharged after nine days, she was readmitted one week later. She died of bronchopneumonia. •Uys sued vestals for damager. ISSUES & ARGUMENTS •W/N Vestil is responsible for the dog bite. HOLDING & RATIO DECIDENDI Yes. Art. 2183. The possessor of an animal or whoever may make use of the same is responsible for the damage which it may cause, although it may escape or be lost. This responsibility shall cease only in case the damage should come from force majeure or from the fault of the person who has suffered damage. •Vestil is not really the owner of the house, which was still part of Vicente Miranda'sestate. She and her husband were its possessors at the time of the incident in question. There is evidence showing that she and her family regularly went to the house, once or twice weekly and used it virtually as a second house. Interestingly, her own daughter was playing in the house with Theness when she was bitten by the dog. The dog remained in the house even after the death of Vicente Miranda in 1973and until 1975, when the incident in question occurred. Also, the vestils offered toassist the Uys with their hospitalization expenses although Purita said she knew them only casually. • The contention that broncho pneumonia is not related to the dog bite is belied by the statement of the doctors that it is a complication which may arise from rabies. Theness showed signs of hydrophobia, a symptom of rabies. • Lastly, the court ruled that for 2183 applies not only to wild and vicious animals butalso tame“According to Manresa the obligation imposed by Article 2183 of the Civil Code is notbased on the negligence or on the presumed lack of vigilance of the possessor or user of the animal causing the damage. It is based on natural equity and on the principle of socialinterest that he who possesses animals for his utility, pleasure or service must answer forthe damage which such animal may cause.”

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