Visitor Question

My dog supposedly attacked another dog on a public road…

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

My dog got loose of his harness while I was at work and (according to the owner of the other dog) he attacked another dog on the street.

My dog has never shown any signs of aggression. She (the other dog’s owner) never keeps any of her dogs on a leash. They run loose all the time and chase cars and bark at people walking by. Now she’s suing me for vet bills.

Will I lose this case? Do I have to pay for her bills? Even after coming back from the vet she still lets her dogs run loose all the time. What can I do to fight this? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

To succeed in a claim against you (for the other person’s veterinarian bills), she’ll have to have credible evidence linking your dog to the attack.

You would be best served by contacting your homeowners insurance company immediately. Most homeowners polices include coverage for dog attacks, even if they occur off-property. Your insurance company won’t agree to pay the dog owner’s claim unless the dog owner can prove your dog attacked her dog, and that your dog wasn’t provoked. It will certainly help that there aren’t any previous reports of attacks by your dog on people or other animals.

Look for witnesses who may have seen the alleged attack. They may have seen provocation or identified some other viable reasons the attack took place.

The effect of the other dog owner allowing her dogs to run loose all the time will be minimal, if any. Unless you can show there was at least one previous occasion where her dog displayed aggressive behavior against your dog or any others you’ll have to rely on witnesses.

Don’t agree to pay any bills until you speak with your homeowners insurance company. If you don’t carry homeowners insurance you may be in a difficult position.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: February 20, 2013

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