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Deborah Awyzio
Deborah Awyzio, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 863
Experience:  Bachelor of Laws (QUT), BIT (QUT), Family Law Accredited Specialist, over 12 years experience
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I've just been reading a previous article on this forum in

Customer Question

I've just been reading a previous article on this forum in relation to having a neighbouring dog eating rat bait placed in someone's yard, we have a somewhat similar situation.
We've recently just moved into an old Queenslander home and within a few weeks of moving in, we discovered something had taken up residence in our ceiling. We called a local professional pest control company to come in and confirm what type of animal it was and it turned out to be rats. On the advice of the pest control person, rat bait was laid in the ceiling (instead of traps) as we were told this was the most effective method to have the rats removed and to prevent further damage to the wiring and cabling in the ceilings. He informed us that any rats would eat the bait, become extremely dehydrated and craw out of the ceiling in search of water. He further informed us that the rat would only travel a few metres before dying.
We have two small dogs of our own, one of which is a terrier, who will eat anything, so to say we were concerned was an understatement. He mentioned that a dog would be repelled by the smell of the dying rat and leave it alone but to be on the safe side, we kept our dogs inside for the days following and informed the neighbours directly beside us (who also have dogs) that we had pest control come in and to be on the look out for any rats as they may have ingested rat bait. We have a fully fenced and dog proofed yard however we do have branches from overhanging trees connecting our two roof lines that the rats may have crawled over.
Days went by and each night we still heard the rat/s scratching around the ceiling with no sign of any dead rats in our yard. Yesterday afternoon, for the first time we heard a rat scratching and screeching to get out off the ceiling but we believe it got stuck on its way out and hasn't made a sound since.
Last night before going to bed we had a neighbour from two doors down bang on the front door, who then in no uncertain terms accused us of poisoning his dog. He said his dog had been admitted to the animal hospital early that day with bleeding (from where I don't know) and they didn't know what was wrong with it and it had cost them $2000 thus far. He had only just returned home and was speaking with the next door neighbour (whom we informed about the rat bait) and then obviously proceeded to come and swear at us for not informing him. I understand that he was obviously upset (as I would be if it was one of my own dogs) however based on the advice provided by someone in the professional pest control business, the rat could have only travelled a couple metres before dying and therefore we believe we took all precautions reasonably necessary and doing the right and responsible thing, we informed the neighbours within that distance.
The neighbour from two doors down said he would return once he had calmed down but I would just like to know, are we liable for paying his vet bill as a result of his dog (in his yard) ingesting a wild rat that may or may not have eaten rat bait in our ceiling? The neighbours directly beside us have chickens, so I am sure that we are not the only ones to have poisoned rats in the neighbourhood, although we may possibly have been the only ones to inform neighbours about it.
Any advice would be most appreciated!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

Good Afternoon

My name is ***** ***** I am a NSW Solicitor. Thank you for your question, and will do my best to assist you with your question. Please understand this is not legal advise but a guide to assist you.

Apart from hearsay what evidence do they have that the god was poisoned by eating the rat? Do they have any evidence of the rat? If you have rats whats to say that others in the street dont have rats and used baits?