What is my legal recourse if my service dogs and I were attacked and severely injured by pitbulls?

UPDATED: Aug 27, 2011

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What is my legal recourse if my service dogs and I were attacked and severely injured by pitbulls?

I was walking on the sidewalk with my service dog and both of us were attacked by 2 pitbulls. One was unleashed and the other was leashed but overpowered its owner and joined the attack. The police were called and there were eye-witnesses around. I was hospitalized and my left hand was torn up and all of my service dogs legs were injured and the last one was torn up and her left hind-leg is immobilized. The veterinarian also stated that the reconstruction surgery would be around $5000 all together and my emergency cost will be around the same.

Asked on August 27, 2011 Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First, if you have insurance which may cover--e.g. health insurance for you, possibly homeowner's or renter's insurance, if it will cover your dogs as your property--look to letting the insurer(s) pay.

Second, if you don't have adequate insurance, or to the extent the insurrance doesn't cover all your expenses, you may sue the pitbulls owner(s). People have an obligation to take reasonable precautions to prevent their animals from attacking others; if a dog was unleashed, that itself may be enough to establish liability; since pitbulls can be aggressive, the owner may have to do more than the owner of a different breed (e.g. take more precautions--like muzzles); and if there were any prior attacks by these dogs, then if the owner will almost certainly be liable for not taking stringent precautions.

For the amount of money at stake ($10,000), it would be well worth it to retain an attorney to help you.

The one kicker: if the dog's owner has little or no income or assets, even if you win, there may be no money. You have to factor in, in deciding whether to move ahead with the lawsuit, whether you can plausibly be paid or not.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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