Q: I was walking with my little dog when a neighbor’s dog ran out of his yard and attacked my little guy. He was bitten several times and I had to take him to the vet for his injuries. The neighbor downplays this and refuses to do anything about it. What are my rights? – Albert
A: Pet owners must ensure that their pets do not harm other people or damage property.
As much as we love our pets, the law considers them the property of their owners, so this duty extends to ensure that their dog does not harm your dog.
If your neighbor’s negligence or carelessness caused his dog to break free, he will have to pay you the veterinarian’s bills. If the attack were fatal, he would have to reimburse you for the cost of replacing your pet.
Although attacking your dog can be very traumatic, you cannot get compensation for emotional stress, except in very rare cases when the owner of the dog acted extremely viciously.
If you were bitten, you may also receive compensation for injuries.
These cases are highly factual and often boil down to the details and location of the attack. If you both walked your puppies on a leash and they fought as you walked past each other, it will be difficult to determine who was at fault.
In situations like yours, when the dog rushes at you off the leash, it is easier to identify guilt. You must take notes and photographs and keep your receipts as you would with any other legal document. File a police report shortly after the incident and receive a copy of the veterinarian’s documentation.
If your neighbor continues to deny responsibility, you may have to sue him to get compensation for the costs he incurred.