Visitor Question

My Dog Was Bit On The Neck By A Pitbull and It Was Life Threatening…

Submitted By: Ray (Walnut, CA)

A few day ago I released my dog, a German Shepard, off leash, to go to the toilet in our front yard. A pitbull, on leash, with the owner was there walking by our house on the sidewalk. My dog, out of curiosity, went and approached the pitbull, because my dog knew the owner and was a friend of ours. My dog was just sniffing the pitbull in a friendly manner. Then, the pitbull bit my dog on the neck.

Out of panic, I ran to the dogs to pull them away. I tried to punch and kick the pitbull off my dog, but it wouldn’t let go. I got multiple cuts and bruises trying to pull my dog away. It held on for a whole 5 minutes. I was screaming for help when a neighbor intervened and helped pry the pitbull off my dog.

The day after I brought my dog to an animal hospital, and she immediately had to undergo surgery (trauma on neck muscles, bad infection, fever, stitches on bite wounds). If we didn’t, my dog would have died. My dog and I both suffered a significant amount of physical and mental trauma.

Property/Physical damage: Potential death of pet, surgery and care costs approximately $1300-$1500.

Actions Taken: Confrontation to Pitbull’s owner, preparing for Injury claim in court.

What can we do? 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 Ray,

While the circumstances of the event must have been traumatic, California law does not allow compensation for mental anguish or emotional distress in cases of dog bites, regardless of the apparent trauma to the dog, or its owner.

Unless your cuts and bruises required medical treatment, you do not have a sufficient basis for a personal injury claim for yourself against the Pitbull owner. You do though, have a basis of a claim only for the veterinary bills resulting from your dog’s treatment.

In many cases, homeowner’s insurance will cover injuries to persons and for property damage. (As cold as it may sound, in the eyes of the law a dog is considered property.) Filing a homeowners claim would avoid you having to go to court. Ask the Pitbull owner if he or she has homeowners insurance. If so, ask for the name of the insurance company, along with contact information and policy number.

If the Pitbull owner does not have homeowners insurance and will not agree to pay the veterinary bills, you may continue your claim in court.

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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