Visitor Question

Great Danes jumped up on my mom…

Submitted By: Amber (Rossford, Ohio )

My mom watches my Min Pin (Miniature Pinscher) when I work because he has diabetes and can’t see too well. He has to have insulin every 12 hours. When I was at work my mom was taking my dog for a walk in her yard where she lives.

My dog was on his leash in my mom’s yard and the neighbor’s three Great Danes ran up to my mom and my dog. My mom picked my dog up to keep him away from them. They then jumped up on her and knocked her and my dog down. My dog was having trouble walking the next day and wouldn’t eat or drink. He threw up the night it all happened.

I talked to the owner of the Great Danes and she said if I took my dog to her vet she would pay the bill. She then was trying to say she shouldn’t have to pay it all cause he has preexisting conditions. He had never been diagnosed with a broken leg in the back, but muscle tissue missing.

Her vet did x-rays and says he has a broken leg but it isn’t new. But he was just at the vet maybe 2 weeks before this happened for his leg. My vet said he was having problems with his leg because he had muscle tissue missing in that leg, and put him on pain meds.

Her vet told me my dog needed to go to the animal hospital cause he was dehydrated and has pancreatitis, and he needed to be on an IV. He had never had any problem eating or drinking or throwing up cause of pancreatitis until the Great Danes “attack.”

The owners of the Great Danes told my mom I should put my dog to sleep and she will get me a dog to replace him. His diabetes were all messed up from him not eating and drinking, and he was dehydrated so he needed to be hospitalized.

My mom called the police and the lady said she saw her dogs do it, but she claims they were only tying to play. My mom said she had to pull my dog under her by the leash after they were knocked down cause the dogs were growling and would not go home. The owners of the Great Danes had to come to my mom’s yard and get them.

My mom also went to the hospital the next day because she felt really sore, but was not seriously injured. Please tell me, do I have a lawsuit? What do we do in this situation? 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.


Dear Amber,

In many states, dog owners are protected from liability the first time their dog bites or otherwise injures someone. Under the “one bite” rule, dog owners may escape liability the first time their doing bites or otherwise injuries someone. This is especially true if the dog had no prior history of violence.

Unfortunately, the State of Ohio does not recognize the “one bite” rule. Under the Ohio Revised Code Section 955.28(b), dog owners are strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs.

Section 955.28(b) reads in part…

“The owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog is liable in damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog…”

Under the circumstances, the owners of the Great Danes may be liable for your veterinary bills and for your mother’s hospital bills, and possible future medical treatment and related costs.

You are in a precarious position vis-a-vis the amount of veterinary bills the Great Dane owners may be liable for. For you to have the basis of an injury claim against the owners will require a veterinary narrative specifically linking your dog’s injuries to the assault by the Great Danes.

At this point it appears the present veterinarian will not support a claim for the leg injury. If that continues to be the case, you might consider seeking another opinion.

Finally, you will very likely not be able to find an attorney to accept the case. There just isn’t enough money in the case to make it worth the attorney’s time and expense. However, if it turns out your mother’s injuries become more serious, you then might be able to find an attorney to accept the case(s). From the facts you present, it doesn’t appear your mother’s injuries will worsen.

You have a viable option. The State of Ohio has Small Claims Courts, which have jurisdiction for cases up to $3,000. If you believe the veterinary bills and your mother’s medical bills will not exceed $3,000, you both may consider filing a lawsuit there.

Because your mother’s injuries and related costs are separate from the veterinary bills, you both may file individual cases with an aggregate amount of $6,000.

Small claims courts are informal, and rarely will you find attorneys, especially because the jurisdiction of the Ohio courts is capped at $3,000.

Ohio’s statute (law) on Small Claims Courts is here:

Ohio Revised Code Section 1925.02 Jurisdiction (A)

Learn more here: Non-Aggressive Dog Injuries

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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