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§ 940.24, Negligent Offenses — handling dangerous weapon – dogs

State v. Jene R. Bodoh, 226 Wis.2d 718, 595 N.W.2d 330 (1999), affirming State v. Bodoh, 220 Wis.2d 102, 582 N.W.2d 440 (Ct. App. 1998)
For Bodoh: Michael D. Mandelman

Holding: A dog can be a dangerous weapon if used or intended or intended to be used in a manner calculated or likely to cause death or great bodily harm. (This holding has the effect of ratifying a prior court of appeals decision on this point, State v. Sinks, 168 Wis. 2d 245, 252, 483 N.W.2d 286 (Ct. App. 1992).) Evidence of such intent was sufficient to sustain this § 940.24 conviction: evidence of Bodoh’s dogs’ aggressive nature, along with his failure to corrective action, was presented. § 940.24 requires that the actor “operate” or “handle” a dangerous weapon. “Operate” requires the actor’s physical presence; Bodoh was away when the attack occurred and he therefore couldn’t be guilty under this alternative. “Handle,” though is broader & doesn’t require physical presence. § 940.24 also require criminal negligence, or ordinary negligence to a high degree. Sufficient proof was made of the “substantial” risk of death or great bodily harm presented by the dogs, largely through prior aggressive, unprovoked incidents and expert testimony of Bodoh’s inadequate efforts to contain them in a pen.

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