What can I do if my dog was severely attacked by another dog while my daughter was walking him on a leash?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What can I do if my dog was severely attacked by another dog while my daughter was walking him on a leash?

This happened in my neighborhood. Despite a minor scratch, my daughter is OK, but afraid to leave the house. However, my dog has over 300 stitches, 12 puncture holes and a $1,200 ER vet bill. I asked the owner of the attacking dog to pay the bill and she is only willing to pay half. I know I can take her to small claims court but I wanted to make sure that is the best avenue for me. The police and a Humane Society officer came out, only to advise us that the attacking dog was not licensed and that this is a civil matter. We were cited for a possible felony if we didn’t take our dog to the vet.

Asked on April 26, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the dog owner in Small Claims Court for negligence for failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable dog owner would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances) by failing to control her dog to prevent foreseeable harm. 

Violation of a statute (the dog was not licensed) would establish negligence.  If the dog was loose and was not a leash, that may have violated another ordinance in your area and may be another argument supporting your negligence claim.

If this is NOT the first incident of the dog attacking, the owner may be liable under strict liability.  Strict liability means the dog owner is liable even if she exercised due care.  Negligence and strict liability would be separate causes of action (claims) in your lawsuit against the other dog owner.

The medical bill and vet's medical report will provide supporting evidence of your claim.

Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking) in your lawsuit in Small Claims Court should include the veterinarian's bill and court costs.  Court costs would include the court filing fee and process server fee.

You will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption