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The law of California provides that the owner of any dog which bites a person while such person is on or in a public place or is lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of such dog, is liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten regardless of whether or not the dog previously had been vicious, regardless of the owner's knowledge or lack of knowledge of any such viciousness, and regardless of whether or not the owner has been negligent in respect to the dog, provided, however, that if a person knowingly and voluntarily invites attack upon himself [herself], or if, when on the property of the dog owner, a person voluntarily, knowingly, and without reasonable necessity, exposes himself [herself] to the danger, the owner of the dog is not liable for the consequences.
Whenever any person is bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog while the person is in a public place or is lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog or other person having the dog in his care or keeping, the owner of the dog or other person having the dog in his care or keeping is liable for the damages suffered.... If a person provokes a dog into attacking him then the owner of the dog is not liable.
FN1. One rule of statutory construction allows the Court to deviate from a statute's plain language when the result would be so patently absurd that it is clear that the Legislature could not have intended such a result. State ex rel. McLeod v. Montgomery, 244 S.C. 308, 314, 136 S.E.2d 778, 782 (1964) (“However plain the ordinary meaning of the words used in a statute may be, the courts will reject that meaning, when to accept it would lead to a result so plainly absurd that it could not possibly have been intended by the Legislature, or would defeat the plain legislative intention; and if possible will construe the statute so as to escape the absurdity and carry the intention into effect.” (quoting Stackhouse v. Rowland, 86 S.C. 419, 422, 68 S.E. 561, 562 (1910))). While we may be concerned with the unintended consequences of applying the clear meaning of section 47-3-110 in every conceivable circumstance, such concerns in this case fall far short of an absurdity that would warrant applying this rule of statutory construction. We decline to construe the statute in a manner to shield this dog owner from liability, for the imposition of strict liability under section 47-3-110 reflects a permissible policy determination of the Legislature.
FN2. We do not suggest that the “other person” for section 47-3-110 purposes must always be a property owner. There may well be circumstances where a person (who is not the dog owner) has the care or keeping of a dog and property ownership is not relevant.