What are my rights after a neighbor’s dog bit my pooch?


By Gary M. Singer - South Florida Sun Sentinel



Animal owners are legally obligated to keep their pets from hurting someone else or damaging property.

Animal owners are legally obligated to keep their pets from hurting someone else or damaging property.


Q: I was walking my little pooch 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 is downplaying it and refusing to do anything about it. What are my rights? — Albert

A: Animal owners have to keep their pets from hurting someone else or damaging property.

As much as we love our pets, the law considers them to be the property of their owner, so this duty extends to keeping their dog from hurting your dog.

If your neighbor’s negligence or inattention led to his dog getting loose, he would have to repay you for your veterinarian bills. Had the attack been fatal, he would have to reimburse you the cost of replacing your pet.

While having your dog attacked can be very traumatic, you cannot be compensated for the emotional distress except in very rare circumstances where the dog’s owner acted with extreme maliciousness.

Had you been bitten, you could also be compensated for your injuries.

These cases are very fact-specific, and it will often come down to the details and location of the attack. If you were both walking your pups on a leash and they fought while you were passing each other, it will be challenging to figure out who was at fault.

Situations like yours, where the dog rushed at you without a leash, are easier to determine fault. You should take notes and photographs and save your receipts as with any legal matter. Make a police report shortly after the incident and get a copy of your vet’s records.

If your neighbor continues to deny responsibility, you may need to take him to court to get reimbursed for the expenses he caused.

Animal owners are legally obligated to keep their pets from hurting someone else or damaging property.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/06/web1_BIZ-REAL-REALESTATE-QA-DMT-3-.jpgAnimal owners are legally obligated to keep their pets from hurting someone else or damaging property.

By Gary M. Singer

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

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