Visitor Question

Vicious 2 on 1 dog attack…

Submitted By: Mae (Colorado)

Two neighborhood dogs (a breeding pair) came into our yard, dragged our securely tied spayed female dog (of similar size and breed) into the street (provoked only by our dog barking at the two in front of our gate) and brutally attacked her (2-on-1 gang style) while the male resident of our home attempted to get them off our dog.

Nobody responded to shouts for help and police intervention was necessary. Our dog received medical attention, but the injuries were so severe that she had to return for critical care which will likely result in very extensive care…if she survives.

What can we do about this? What are the obligations of the owners of the pair, and where can I get more information on legal recourse and timelines specific to Colorado and our area? Thank you for any information you can provide.

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 Mae,

This is a simple case of the dog owners being not only negligent, but legally liable for the injuries to your dog and the related damages.

The dog owners may have homeowners insurance. If so, the insurance may cover the injuries inflicted by the dogs. Unfortunately, when it comes to animals the courts rarely, if ever allow compensation for a pet owner’s emotional distress, or vicarious pain and suffering.

As a result, you can only reasonably expect to receive compensation for your veterinary bills, out-of-pocket expenses for the dog’s medications, costs of travel to and from the vet, and possibly compensation for wages you may lose while caring for your dog.

If the owners do not have homeowners or other insurance which covers any injuries or property damage the dogs may cause, then your recourse would be to file a lawsuit against them personally, possibly in small claims court.

Of course, this all presumes the dog owners will refuse to voluntarily pay for the vet bills and medications. If they do agree to pay, don’t expect any additional compensation.

In the State of Colorado there is a two (2) year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for property damage. Dogs are considered property in the eyes of the law. As long as you either settle the claim, or file a lawsuit within the two (2) year period from the date of the injuries, you will be alright.

After the two (2) year time limitation you will lose your legal right to successfully pursue the dog owners.

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 28, 2015

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