CanI be sued for my dog attackingour neighbor’s dog?

UPDATED: Oct 12, 2011

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CanI be sued for my dog attackingour neighbor’s dog?

My dog is contained by an invisible fence. The neighbors dog came 2 yards over and into my yard; at this time my dog attacked this dog and caused significant injuries. Due to local leash laws am I liable? We also have a beware of dog sign posted. My dog did not leave the my yard.

Asked on October 12, 2011 under Business Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As  to the impact of any purely local leash laws, you'll need to review those specific local ordinances for how they apply to your situation.

As a general matter, if your dog was on your property and, moreover, was responsibly confined to your property (e.g. the invisible fence), you would not be liable for injuries to another dog caused by that dog's entrance, without your permission (e.g. you didn't specifically let the neighbors bring their dog over)--in this case, you have not done anything wrong, and liability generally requires some fault, either negligence (carelessness) or intentional.

That said, if you have had warning that your dog is viscious and a risk--e.g. it has previously injured other dogs--then you could possible be found liable, because with an animal known to be viscious, you may have had to take more stringent measures to prevent others from coming into contact with it, such as keeping it in a fenced-in enclosure.

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 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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