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Dog Attack Question

Dog Attack Question

Old Mar 6th 2006, 1:43 pm
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Default Dog Attack Question

Two weeks ago my wife (Megan) was attacked by a neighbours dog resulting in several bite wounds to the back of her head and right upper arm and a lot of lost hair from the back of her head.

As it is winter, Megan had several layers of clothing on that prevented the dog from doing any serious damage (thankfully it wasn't summer).

Megan had crossed the road to say good morning and the dog lunged at her. The dog was on a leach and being held by the owner but it simply was far to big to be held off (it was a Great Dane weighing in a 180lbs while my wife is only 5'2" and 120lbs).

The owners had previously set this dog on another of our neighbours for taking a shortcut through there backyard because she was feeling faint while pregnant (thankfully, she was able to get across the invisible fence before the dog reached her).

In addition, the owners had previously advised us that they had thought about putting the dog down for attacking a person the year before (however, they did not because the person had dropped the charges).

The Doctor who saw Megan after the attack said that she was extremely lucky to have got away so lightly and it cold have been a lot worse.

While the wounds were not as bad as they could have been, Megan has been having almost nightly nightmares about the dog attack and, since the attack, is very nervous around all large dogs (including our own Old English Sheepdog).


The question is this... Do we sue them?

They had the dog put down within two hours of the attack happening but have not made contact with Megan or myself since then to see how she is doing.

Megan has a good friend who specialises in defending dog owners in this situation who suspects that the owners lawyer must be "s***ting himself".

What do you guys think? I was going to post a poll, but I do not think it's a simple Yes/No answer (well, not in my mind anyway).
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Old Mar 6th 2006, 1:48 pm
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Default Re: Dog Attack Question

Originally Posted by CitySimon
The question is this... Do we sue them?

They had the dog put down within two hours of the attack happening but have not made contact with Megan or myself since then to see how she is doing.

Megan has a good friend who specialises in defending dog owners in this situation who suspects that the owners lawyer must be "s***ting himself".

What do you guys think? I was going to post a poll, but I do not think it's a simple Yes/No answer (well, not in my mind anyway).
In a word, yes. I would also have pursued criminal charges if possible. Thank God some small child was not cutting thru their yard.
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Old Mar 6th 2006, 1:54 pm
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Default Re: Dog Attack Question

Originally Posted by ironporer
In a word, yes. I would also have pursued criminal charges if possible. Thank God some small child was not cutting thru their yard.
No kidding. :scared:

I would definitely make them pay the medical bills as well as any other losses you've experienced (lost work time, etc)...
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Old Mar 6th 2006, 2:00 pm
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Default Re: Dog Attack Question

That's a tough one. The easy answer in the US these days seems to be to sue everyone for anything. I'm not saying that the attack on your wife wasn't serious, it was and she is very lucky. I'm sure the mental/physical effects will be with her a long time.

They've had the dog put to sleep which was the right thing to do, and agree with Leslie they should pay for the medical bills incurred for your wife's treatment, but will any further monetary compensation help your wife? Will suing them stop the nightmares?
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Old Mar 6th 2006, 2:04 pm
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Default Re: Dog Attack Question

Originally Posted by Sue
That's a tough one. The easy answer in the US these days seems to be to sue everyone for anything. I'm not saying that the attack on your wife wasn't serious, it was and she is very lucky. I'm sure the mental/physical effects will be with her a long time.

They've had the dog put to sleep which was the right thing to do, and they should pay for the medical bills incurred for your wife's treatment, but will any further money compensation help your wife? Will suing them stop the nightmares?
Part of me agrees with this but the other part makes me feel they should be held accountable for keeping a vicious dog - long after they knew it was vicious. If they had dealt with the problem at the first occurrence Simon's wife would have never been attacked.
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Old Mar 6th 2006, 2:09 pm
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Default Re: Dog Attack Question

I hope the OP reported this to his local Police at the very least. Also, the local animal charity (US equivalent of RSPCA) should've been notified. The dog's owner should not be allowed to own dogs because he doesn't appear to know how to handle them appropriately.

If this incident had happened to me or anyone in my family, I certainly would look into filing a law suit, especially taking into consideration the physical injuries sustained.

If that dog owner continues to own dogs, how long would it be before a dog he may own kills a child?

Also, here's a question for the gun owning BE members. If you had a concealed carry license (if necessary) and this dog had attacked you, could you have shot it dead as self defence?
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Old Mar 6th 2006, 2:12 pm
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Default Re: Dog Attack Question

Yes Leslie I agree they should be held accountable, perhaps via the authorities? Was the attack reported to the police? If not it should be and then they would have to answer to the law.

Originally Posted by Leslie66
Part of me agrees with this but the other part makes me feel they should be held accountable for keeping a vicious dog - long after they knew it was vicious. If they had dealt with the problem at the first occurrence Simon's wife would have never been attacked.
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Old Mar 6th 2006, 2:15 pm
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Default Re: Dog Attack Question

Originally Posted by Sue
...will any further money compensation help your wife? Will suing them stop the nightmares?
Probably not. That's really why I'm asking the question. Personally, I would not pursue anything beyond medical/lost earnings, however it's not really my decision to make.

I have a feeling that Megan wants to pursue addition compensation. The feeling is that although they put the dog down, it was the owners handling, ownership and training of the dog which resulted in the dog attacking.


A number of people who I have spoken to liken this to a car accident where another driver hits you from behind. In that situation we would not even think about suing the driver... However, what if the drivers actions leading up to the accident had actually caused the accident? What if that driver had several other accidents on record where he/she had done the exact same thing and not changed the way he/she drives?
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Old Mar 6th 2006, 2:19 pm
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Default Re: Dog Attack Question

Originally Posted by Celsius
I hope the OP reported this to his local Police at the very least. Also, the local animal charity (US equivalent of RSPCA) should've been notified. The dog's owner should not be allowed to own dogs because he doesn't appear to know how to handle them appropriately.
The attack was reported to the local police and the local animal control people interviewed Megan following the attack.

However, I am not sure what the outcome was from a police point of view.

The Animal Control guy recommended that the dog be put down, however, the owners had already had the dog put down a few hours earlier.

Last edited by CitySimon; Mar 6th 2006 at 2:21 pm.
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Old Mar 6th 2006, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: Dog Attack Question

Originally Posted by CitySimon
The attack was reported to the local police and the local animal control people interviewed Megan following the attack.

However, I am not sure what the outcome was from a police point of view.

The Animal Control guy recommended that the dog be put down, however, the owners had already had the dog put down a few hours earlier.
I'm curious ....... were they given a ticket or some sort of fine?
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Old Mar 6th 2006, 2:31 pm
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Default Re: Dog Attack Question

Originally Posted by Sue
Yes Leslie I agree they should be held accountable, perhaps via the authorities? Was the attack reported to the police? If not it should be and then they would have to answer to the law.
The problem with law enforcement is that the police are not able to enforce restitution. If the neighbors do not volunteer to pay the damages (which they definitely should do) it has to be mediated by a third party, either and insurance company, attorney, or judge.
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Old Mar 6th 2006, 2:35 pm
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Default Re: Dog Attack Question

Originally Posted by Leslie66
I'm curious ....... were they given a ticket or some sort of fine?
I'm really not sure what happened as a result of the police getting involved.

I wasn't there at the time and was not informed of the attack at all until after the police had interviewed her. It's not a question that I really thought to ask.
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Old Mar 6th 2006, 2:42 pm
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Default Re: Dog Attack Question

Originally Posted by CitySimon
I'm really not sure what happened as a result of the police getting involved.

I wasn't there at the time and was not informed of the attack at all until after the police had interviewed her. It's not a question that I really thought to ask.
If they were ticketed or fined that would take care of their debt to society. It really doesn't help you with your expenses though.

Generally, you can find a family/civil attorney who will write a letter on your behalf outlining what the neighbors need to do in order to avoid a lawsuit. If your neighbors do the right thing you really wouldn't be "suing" them at all. If you don't have an attorney I would ask for references from friends and co-workers. Sometimes younger attorneys who are building their practice are happy to take on this sort of work. It will probably just cost you their minimum hourly fee unless you actually end up going to court.
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Old Mar 6th 2006, 3:08 pm
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Default Re: Dog Attack Question

If the dog has been put down then thats that legally.

Civilly I'd say sueing is up to you. I wouldnt unless they were nasty towards your wife about the attack but it sounds like they havent been.

Personally I wouldnt sue but thats just me.
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Old Mar 6th 2006, 3:10 pm
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Default Re: Dog Attack Question

Originally Posted by Angry White Pyjamas
If the dog has been put down then thats that legally.

Civilly I'd say sueing is up to you. I wouldnt unless they were nasty towards your wife about the attack but it sounds like they havent been.

Personally I wouldnt sue but thats just me.
Asking to be compensated for losses incurred is not "suing" though.
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