Visitor Question

Dog with history of violence attacked our dog…

Submitted By: Anonymous (Los Angeles, California)

During the evening of Saturday, May 13th 2017, my brother was walking my dog in a nearby neighborhood. Then a German Shepherd managed to roll open a wire gate and bit my dog. Due to that, my dog became injured and had to get surgery to clean and stitch his laceration.

The dog owner did not give us the dog’s medical records either, so we had to get it checked up. Before going to the vet, the dog owner’s family said they would pay for the bills and that it isn’t the first time their dog bit another dog.

After getting my dog to the vet and having surgery, we went to talk to them about the medical bills but they changed their minds and blamed us for this whole incident. They even lied to the police and made up ridiculous stories that do not even match up. My brother couldn’t take pictures during the time of the incident because all he had in his mind was to save my dog.

We have pictures of the wound and copies of the medical bills. We also have an audio of the dog owners family saying they would pay and that it isn’t the first time their dog bit another dog.

Will we be able to win this case if we file a claim/lawsuit? How much can we sue them and what is the process? 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,

California law on animal bites is clear. California Penal Code Section 398 – 399.5 states in part:

“If an owner of an animal knows that the animal bit another person, s/he shall provide the other person with his or her contact information and information about the animal…”

By failing to cooperate in turning over the medical (veterinary) information about the dog, the German Shepherd owner may be in violation of this statute.

California leash laws are unique to each county and city. The Los Angeles County Animal Care & Control Public Code, Section 10.32.010

“Prohibits dogs from running at large on any public street, park or other public areas or upon private property other than that of the dog owner. A dog must be restrained by a substantial leash not exceeding six feet and be in the control of a competent person when off property.”

By failing to restrain the German Shepherd, the dog owner may be in violation of this statute.

Based on the facts you present, including the apparent violation law, the German Shepherd’s owner should be liable for the injuries to your dog and resulting expenses. If the dog owner continues to refuse to cooperate, you can consider filing a small claims lawsuit in one of California’s Small Claims Courts.

California Small Claims courts have jurisdiction to hear cases in controversy up to $7,500.

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: October 19, 2017

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