Last Sunday night I read on social media that my cousin's sister in law's dog was attacked by two dogs who were off leash. The image is hard to look at but I believe it is an important issue and unfortunately a reality us pet parents may encounter or already have.
As I was scrolling down reading the comments from others wishing her a speedy recovery and offering condolences I read two other people's stories about how their dogs were once attacked by unleashed dogs.
Unfortunately the dogs that attacked the dog pictured above have attacked before, even bitten people.
I understand that mistakes can happen, gates blow open from the wind or kids leave them open when playing outside. Dogs dart out the front door past their owners or leashes can break or collars can snap. I am not referring to these types of occurrences, although if you have dogs that will fight other dogs you should take extra precautions.
Dog-on-dog aggression is a common occurrence. Each year in the United States, dog owners spend millions of dollars in medical and veterinary bills and suffer millions more in property losses, all because of aggressive dogs with violent tendencies.
What does the law say when your dog is attacked by another? What are you liable for if your dog is the aggressor?
Dog owners have a legal "duty of care" (obligation) to ensure their dogs won't injure another person or damage personal property. As much as we like to consider our dogs something more than just property, under the law they are just that. Cats and other domesticated animals are also personal property. Cat and dog fights fall under the same negligence rules.
Your Rights as a Dog Owner:
If your dog has been injured or killed by another dog, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
We see this happen all too often: you're out for a walk with your dog when another dog starts barking and growling. Instinctively, you reach out to protect your pet and suffer a bite in the process. In an unfortunate turn, your afternoon walk just became a trip to the emergency room.
We know most owners won't think twice about protecting their pet from an attacking dog. More often than not, they end up suffering bites or serious injury. Just know that you don't have to live with the cost of defending your beloved pet. The other dog's owner may be held responsible for your medical costs.
What Can You Do To Protect Yourself And Your Dog?
What I tell my team:
I've been walking dogs for over 15 years (professionally) and there are things I look for and make sure my walkers are on the lookout for as well. Here are a few: