What to Do if Another Dog Attacks Your Dog
At Edgar Snyder & Associates, we know your dog is important to you. For many people, dogs are part of the family. Dog owners spend a lot of time walking, playing, and enjoying the outdoors with their dog. If you're a dog owner, you trust that other dog owners will obey state leash laws and maintain control of their dog. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.
Hundreds of people have contacted us for legal help because another dog attacked and injured their dog. Veterinary bills can add up to thousands of dollars, and your heart breaks to see your dog suffer. People often ask us: "My dog was attacked by another dog – do I have a case?"
That's why we want to help. You may wonder if you should hire a lawyer. Should you contact the insurance company? Will you be reimbursed for attorney fees and veterinary bills? There are many unknowns.
We've answered some of the most common questions you may have if another dog injures yours, and we offer several tips to protect your legal rights.
However, please know that our Pennsylvania attorneys only handle dog bite cases where adults or children are injured. If you, or someone you love, have been injured in a dog attack, please contact us right away for a no obligation, free legal evaluation. You may need a lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Legal Rights Under Pennsylvania Dog Bite Law
There are two things you should know about your legal rights if your dog was attacked by another dog:
- In Pennsylvania, if the dog is already listed as a "dangerous dog" and kills or causes severe injuries to your dog, the owner may be found guilty of harboring a dangerous dog. They may be held liable for any damages, including your vet bills. If your dog was killed or had to be "put down" due to the injuries, the owner may be liable for the amount you originally paid for the dog.
- Also, if the owner of the dog that attacked yours violated any of state or local government leash laws, you may be able to receive compensation for your dog's veterinary bills. However, since laws vary from state-to-state, you should check with your state and local government about their dog bite laws first before hiring a lawyer.
What Can I Do if a Dog Attacks My Dog?
There are several things you can do if a dog attacks your dog:
- First and foremost, get your dog to a veterinary clinic or hospital right away. It could mean the difference between whether your dog survives or not. Know whether your veterinarian takes emergency visits, and if not, have a backup plan in place. Keep copies of all veterinary bills and medications.
- Get contact information for the owner of the dog that attacked your dog, if possible. You may not know the dog owner's name, or they may refuse to cooperate with you. If you talk directly with the dog owner, do your best to stay calm, and don't accuse the owner of anything. It's important to get their name, address, phone number, homeowners or renters insurance carrier, and find out if the dog is current on all vaccines.
- If another dog attacks and bites your dog (or even if you notice a dog wandering around the neighborhood regularly without a leash), you can file a complaint with the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement or State Dog Warden. They also can help verify if the dog is up-to-date on rabies shots and vaccines.
- If the other dog caused severe injuries, you can contact the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement or State Dog Warden to have the dog placed on a list of "dangerous dogs" and "potentially dangerous dogs." This will require the owner of the dog by law to take certain steps to prevent another attack. Be sure to document all communication between you and the Bureau or Warden, as well as between you and the dog owner.
- Contact an attorney who handles cases for dogs injured by other dogs – preferably one who offers a free legal consultation. You can contact the Pennsylvania Bar Association (or the Bar Association for any other state) to get information on law firms in your area.
Ways to Protect Your Dog
While it's impossible to guarantee that a dog won't ever attack yours (or vice versa), there are ways you can help protect your dog and avoid incidents before they occur:
- Do research on dog breeds before you bring a dog home with you. A dog owner is the single largest factor in determining a dog's behavior, but it's always good to know general information about the breed and make sure the dog fits your lifestyle.
- Make sure your property has a proper fence. You may think letting your dog outside with a leash is enough. However, without a fence, you can't prevent other people's dogs from approaching your own. The fence should be at least four feet high and sturdy.
- Talk to your veterinarian about purchasing animal insurance for your dog. When dogs attack one another, it can be hard to prove which dog is at fault. Animal insurance may help pay for any veterinary bills that result from treating injuries related to a dog attack.
- Socialize your dog with other dogs and people at an early age.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. If you see a dog wandering, or if a dog in your neighborhood shows signs of aggression (even if it's on a leash), do your best to avoid it.
- Train your dog to follow commands and walk on a leash. Many local pet stores offer classes that will help with obedience training.
- If you adopt a dog, make sure you know its history, behavioral tendencies, etc. Adopting a dog is great, but you may need to work with the dog a bit more, depending on what it's been through. For example, you may adopt a male dog that doesn't get along with other male dogs. If you know about the tendency ahead of time, you can be extra cautious to avoid encounters with male dogs.
- Follow these additional dog safety tips.
Were You the Victim of a Dog Bite?
If you or someone you love suffered serious dog bite injuries, we're here to help. Call 1-866-9-4EDGAR (1-866-943-3427) or fill out the form at the top right of this page for a no obligation, free legal evaluation of your dog bite claim. Our Pennsylvania dog bite lawyers have the experience and resources to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Remember, evidence disappears quickly, and there are time limits to file a claim. Our phones answer 24/7, so contact us now.