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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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My dog was bitten by another dog. My dog is a 7 month old

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My dog was bitten by another dog. My dog is a 7 month old westie he was on his lead and being walked by my neighbour who is helping me to train my dog. Three dogs came running over to him growling and one bowled him over and bit him. The Owner did nothing to call his dogs off and only shouted at my neighbour when he shouted and pushed the offending dog off my puppy. The vet bill so far is nearly £800! I have looked on my pet insurance and can not see anythnig regarding injury caused by another dog so not sure if my claim will be valid? The other owner is a local farmer who is refusing to pay or contribute to the bill. The incident took place on the edge of his field which you are lead onto from a public footpath walk. This field edge has been used and continues to be used by walkers (there is an establish walkway) to join another public foothpath walk(The Hertfordshire Way). The Police are not interested because his dog did not bite a human! is there anything I can do?

What comments did the other dog owner make?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I sent him a text detailing what had happened and asking him to pay my vet bill


He sent text messages to me


"I am sorry about your dog but if u wish 2 tresspass on private farm ground where my dogs live. we keep telling people there is a footpath so please use them and not farm fields."


Note: There are no private property, keep out, or beware of dog signs! and as stated the footpath leads you out to the field which has the Hertfordshire way on at least one of its edges!


next text recvd


Please tell me what type of dog attacked your and where exactly this happened?


I sent him a text back stating that he knew which if his dogs had attacked my puppy because he was there and a witness had identified him.


He phoned me and tried to deny it was him. I told him that I would be walking with my neighbour along the route he took and would be taking photos of the area. He told me that I would be tresspassing as well. I told him that if I encountered any sign instructing me to stay out I would. He told me that when he had put signs up people just take them down!!


I have taken photos as promised.







There are various options open to you, the first is to bring a claim under the civil law for the sum that the vet's bills cost, and the second is to call the police.


The difficulty you will have with calling the police is twofold. The first is that they don't like to prosecute dog on dog attacks anymore. The words of the legislation of 91 actually do say that a dog has to injure a person before an offence is committed but there has been case law that says dog on dog attacks are covered. However as a matter of public interest it just doesn't really happen very much in law. The second difficulty with calling the police is that this sounds as though it is private land and the dangerous dogs act of 91 only applies to a public place or a place upon which the dog is not permitted to be. There is a debate over whether or not fields of this kind amount to a public place within the definition of the legislation but it is very unlikely that the police would have any interest in becoming involved in that for reasons that it is too complicated.


You can pursue a civil claim. It doesn't matter whether or not it is public or private land for that to happen. You can only claim if your insurance does not cover so that you have to suffer loss yourself and also you would have to show the court that your insurance would not have covered if you made a claim upon it. He could counter claim for trespass but he would have to show loss in order to do so. Good luck.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Can I seek a dog control order? if so how or who do I see about this?


I am not only angry about the injury casued to my own dog - but there have been many incidents envolving other people and dogs as well|! The Field in question has no fence, no warning signs and backs onto a housing estate where children play.


The farmer lets these dogs roam with no human supvervision. He is a very unpleasant man. Surely there must be something that be done to make him more responsible for his animals behavour and care??


Otherwise it seems to me that he will continue to let these dogs roam until the unthinkable happens and a child is injured!




No. Its his property. The 1871 Act does apply to this type of land but you would never get a dog control order in these circumstances. To be fair, you were trespassing.


He is entitled to let his dogs roam on his own land.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.


I know ignorance is no defence, but The Green Plantation walk (offical walk) footpath leads you half way down the side of the field and then swings round and puts you onto the edge of the field where this attack happened. Because of this and the fact that there are no signs or fencing etc I think it is not unreasonable to assume that this side of the field would link you to the other side of the field where the Hertfordshire way (An offical walk) footpath is. If his dogs are allowed to roam free and attack on the right side of the field what is to stop them from doing so on the left side and the bottom of this field where the Hertfordshire way is?


Sometimes I think the law is strange?

I'm afraid the law does not support you in relation to that assumption which is all that really matters.



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Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for your help