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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 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.


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