At any given time a dog can be aggressive. Dog-on-dog aggression is actually very common. Oftentimes dogs will become aggressive with other dogs because they are being territorial. Some dogs attack because they lack socialization and have jealously issues. Most animals are territorial and when they feel that any dog or person is violating their personal space, they can attack. While most states have a one-bite rule when it comes to dog attacks, they also have a common law against dog owner negligence.
When a dog causes injury to another dog, the negligent dog owner has breached their duty of care. This means that they are liable for the dog’s injuries and any other resulting damages.
When it comes to dog-on-dog aggression, damages include reimbursement for vet bills, dog medications, kennel fees while the dog is recovering, etc.
In certain cases of fatal dog attacks, damages may further include the replacement cost of the deceased dog. Unfortunately, liability does not extend to the mental anguish or emotional distress that someone goes through when they lose their dog in an animal attack.
Who is at Fault?
One of the challenges that any personal injury attorney faces in these cases is proving that another dog began the attack. As dog-on dog attacks can sometimes be difficult to figure out, especially if an attack seems to come out of nowhere. This oftentimes happens when two dogs are posing by one another. And in a split second, they can be barking and subsequently fighting.
Determining which dog was the one to lunge first will come down to what each dog owner says. A “he-said-she-said” situation. When taking a closer look at the underlying issues, even in cases where the dog is on a leash, you will still be able to recover damages.
What to Look for in Dog-on-Dog Aggression
In this example, we are going to use a pug and a German Shepherd. You might be able to use a partial basis of your claim on the size comparison, weight, etc. It is a good idea to ask the neighbors if they experience any problems with the at-fault dog. Did he bite other neighbors or their children or pets? Has your city’s animal contain issued citations or warnings about the violent nature of the animal?
If the answer to any of those questions is “yes,” then you have a legitimate claim for personal injury and property damage. Property damage being damages to your dog in an attack.
Negligence on behalf of the dog owner that results to harm to another will be much easier to prove. Failing to protect others (including other dogs) from an attack by an unconfined dog, is, in and of itself, negligent.
That being said, if your dog does bite another dog, it will be your responsibility to pay for all damages. The state of California is a strict liability state. This means that if your dog bites another dog, you are responsible for paying the vet bills and any other necessary damages to the owner of the dog that was bitten.
If you have been injured in an attack or have lost your pet due to an attack, you have rights. Contact Silverthorne Attorneys today to discuss your case. Consultations are free.