Visitor Question

Neighbor’s big dog killed my poodle in our backyard…

Submitted By: A (USA)

Last weekend I was out of town but my family was home. The neighbor from across the street and his girlfriend were giving their dogs baths. One of the kids had a hold of the girlfriend’s dog. The dog broke loose and came chasing my poodle into our back yard. They came chasing after their dog.

Their dog got a hold of my poodle and within minutes my little doggy was dead. It is heartbreaking! Are they responsible to pay what it will cost when I decide to get another poodle? Can I file a case or report their dog? What can I 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.


Dear A,

Yes, from the fact you present it appears your neighbors are liable for the attack and death of your dog. There are several ways your can handle the matter:

1) You can ask the neighbors to file a claim under their homeowners insurance. To do so will not require you to prove they were negligent (for payouts under a certain amount). You can file a claim under your own homeowners policy.

Unfortunately, homeowners insurance does not pay for emotional distress or pain and suffering. At most, you might be able to recover an amount necessary to replace a dog of similar breed, age and health to your dog.

2) You can sue the neighbors in court. If you do, you would be permitted to sue for the replacement costs of your dog, expenses for court filing fees and costs of court, lost wages, and emotional distress. The problem you will have is proving the type of emotional distress you suffered.

The courts are quite hesitant to award compensation for emotional distress to people other than the actual victim, and especially for the loss of a dog. As much as we like to think of our pets as family members, in the eyes of the law they are considered property.

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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One comment on “Neighbor’s big dog killed my poodle in our backyard…

  1. Anonymous says:

    The laws and law enforcement to report a potential danger like this…there’s nothing they can do. Doesn’t matter if it’s a Pitbull or mastodon. I believe taking matters into my own hands.

    I have a problem with a young pitbull that doesn’t get walked or trained or too much of anything, but it gets let out in the back yard to have a fence fight with my two small dogs.

    The guy on the other side says he is a fence guy. I suggested electronic fence….sent him some lit and pricing. He doesn’t work or do any community work…..and we have a progressing problem.

    Today I am going to go over there and ask him if he has homeowners insurance for the dog. I am going to ask him what he intends to do about the problem. It is always good to ask questions…kind of puts them on the spot.

    From his dead head replies I am going to plan B. When there is the next attempt I plan to get a really loud noise machine that will make aware all around….when someone complains…my reply.

    I have asked for resolution and got no cooperation. My peace and the security of my dogs is at risk… will continue untill something is done.

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