My daughter and her friend(both 19 years old) were walking our Boxer and Pitbull. They turned down a paved alley way that backs to some homes. Each home is surrounded with block walls that have a decorative/drainage block about 2 feet off the ground about every 10 feet. Most of the neighbors have them blocked either with screening or dirt. As the girls were walking along, a dachshund suddenly stuck it's snout out the hole and barked, showed teeth, etc. My Pitbull panicked(doing his job as a protector)and was able to bite the nose off entirely(upper jaw included). He then, in his heightened anxiety, attacked my boxer. The entire incident could have been avoided if they just would have blocked their decorative block. However, my daughter did lose control of the leash, but only because it was so unexpected for both her and the pit. They are now sending us a vet bill for $9000. and hinting at a 1200 plane ticket to fly back early from a business trip, and lost wages for his wife who stayed home for 2 weeks. I believe dogs are personal property. Isn't that like putting $9000 into a $600 car? The police report does state that the dogs snout was outside of the wall. Where do I go from here. Would there be a limit to my liabilities? I don't have the money for this. Do I seek council? Notify my home owners insurance? I love dogs and walk mine 6 days a week. They know how to behave. I see how many dogs are aggressive towards them. And I know the difference between animals and humans. I would not have been so cruel as to keep it alive especially at that expense. My dog is not vicious. If he was, we would put him down. We are in Arizona.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Arizona
Sending an email letting him know we need more than the 6/30/12-7/03/12 to respond to his letter and telling him it all could have been avoided if they would have been proactive in blocking the holes.
Hello and thank you for the question. I am sorry to read of this dilemma. The owner of the pet would be liable for injuries sustained. Those injuries should have matching receipts to show precise bills paid or estimates. From there, one can often negotiate a settlement and a payment plan. Limit to liability does not stop at the medical expenses as one could pursue additional pain and suffering damages, but typically covering the medical is the parameter of a settlement where injuries are not serious.
The owner of the dachshund would be liable or I would be.
The owner of the animal that caused the injuries would be liable. Typically courts find liability against the owner of the animal that is found to have been the aggressor.
But my dog was not the aggressor. My dog reacted to the aggressor. He was on a leash. The fence was not secure. The owners could have prevented it by making sure the nose could not protrude out of the hole.
That all serves as grounds for shifting all liability to the other owner!
So where do I go from here? I don't have the money to hire a lawyer. Do I file a claim with my homeowners insurance? What about value? Dachshunds are worth about $600. If I hit a $600 car that had $9000 worth of recent car repairs-I would be liable for the value of the car. Isn't an animal considered personal property?
No harm in alerting your insurer and see if there is coverage. You may proceed without a lawyer if it goes to court and note your position on court proceedings. Insurer if accepts coverage will handle it and supply a lawyer for free!
I don't feel like I know anything more than I did when I started this process.
You asked about liability and I discussed the issues relating to who is liable and the reasons for it. what else did you want to know? we are a general information site, and sometimes we end up confirming information as a doctor confirms for a patient a prognosis.
What about value? The Dachshund owners(which are #1 on many lists as being the most aggressive dog) made 2 bad decisions 1) not to fix the wall and 2)to pay $9000 to fix a dog. What if they decided to replace upper teeth with gold teeth?
First, by making those errors, any injuries they incurred could be erased as their failure to mitigate can be used against them. Second, even assuming they were entitled to some compensation, they could only recover for actual injuries and cost of returning to status quo, not an upgrade. And where they were negligent their recovery would be reduced, potentially to nothing.
They have mitigated the fence issue. Does that help their cause, my cause or wash it?
It helps your case since shows there was a problem at the time of the incident.
That is encouraging. What would you do if you were me?
I would seek to negotiate a settlement, reaching an amount that represents nuisance value based on saving time/legal fees/exposure, for example 25% of the balance asked for.
But I do not have $2250. Plus, once again a negligent owner gets away with being a negligent owner. I feel like being a responsible person gets me nowhere. I am tired of turning the other cheek. When will I be treated how I treat others? I would NEVER expect anyone to pick up a tab for my negligence.
You can contest it and take it to court and may win outright. The facts are on your side. The only reason to settle is to save time and hassle, but you can choose to fight on. Kindly rate my answer favorably, as that is the only way I get credit for it. thanks.
Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses
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