Visitor Question

My dog was attacked when I was house and dog sitting…

Submitted By: Emily (Milwaukee, WI)

I went to my friend’s house to dog and house sit for the weekend. They have a lab mix and a pit bull mix. I have a yorkie and they have known each other for 5+ years. On the second day I was taking care of them, I fed my friend’s dogs and after they ate then I fed my dog, the yorkie, separately.

The pit bull mix came to my dog when she was eating and tried to move her from eating. My dog barked at the pit bull, as she usually does when she is saying he is being too forceful, and he then proceeded to grab her neck by his teeth and throw her on the ground. He put his paw against her chest and started biting away at her face.

I immediately grabbed him away from her and he then tried to attack my arm, so I turned sideways and did not look at him in the face. I took her to the emergency room where she was given stitches in her back and mouth. I took pictures of her before they did the surgery and I have a report from the vet.

My friend at the time said he would pay for half, but now he said he will not pay any because I shouldn’t have had my dog there at his house and I am to blame. My dog is always with me and he knew she would be there. I would not house sit without my dog.

I am seeing what I can do in this scenario in getting my money back. I did not file a report on the dog because I believed that our almost 10 years of friendship meant something and that he would pay me back for this tragedy. Unfortunately, this did not happen. They do not own their house, by the way, they rent it.

Is there any way I can get my money back from this person? What are my options? Thank you for any information you can give.

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 Emily,

Your options are as follows:

First, speak with your friend and ask if he has renter’s insurance. If so, the insurance may cover the costs of the veterinarian’s

bills. If not, your second option is to file a small claims court case against your friend.

The State of Wisconsin has one of the highest small claims jurisdictional limits in the country. In Wisconsin, Governor Walker recently affected a raise in small claims court jurisdiction from $5,000 to $10,000.

If you file a small claims court lawsuit against your friend, it’s possible your friendship will be forever lost. Because of this, you will have to weigh the value of your friendship against the costs of your veterinarian’s bills.

Your final option is to have a frank discussion with your friend. Explain how much your friendship means to you, and hope he will change his mind for the sake of your friendship.

Learn more here: Dog-on-Dog Aggression

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!


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