What to Do if Another Dog Attacks Yours

For most dog owners, their pets are just like family.  You watch them grow up, feed them, train them and take care of them like you would your children. 

Pet owners form strong bonds with their dogs.  In general, most dog owners respect laws related to pets and understand the obligation to obey the laws that are meant to keep others safe. 

But, what happens if the laws aren’t obeyed?  You may be wondering what to do if another dog attacks yours.

Understanding your rights as a dog owner

Unfortunately, not all laws or local ordinances relating to pets are followed by every citizen.  In some cases, an aggressive dog that is left free to roam around may attack, not only people, but other dogs as well.  You may be out walking your dog, on a leash, and someone else’s dog escapes its yard and attacks, causing serious injury.  The result could be expensive veterinary bills for you.

Because dog bite and leash laws are different in each state, it is important to consult an attorney in your area regarding  the current law. Arkansas does not have a state-wide leash law. 

Missouri has what is known as a “State Lands Leash Law.” According to this law, dogs must be kept on leashes no longer than 10 feet when, they are in state parks or on state historic sites.  Missouri law also prohibits dogs that have rabies, or dogs that have been exposed to rabies, to run at large.

Pet owner’s liability for negligence

If a dog owner does something unreasonable, pertaining to his dog, or fails to take reasonable precautions to keep others safe from his dog, the owner may be liable for negligence if someone is injured as a result. For instance, if a dog owner knows his dog has a tendency to attack other dogs, bringing that dog to a dog park would be unreasonable.

Violating a state or city animal control law is always considered negligence. So, if your city has a leash law and a pet owner walks his dog without a leash, then he could be responsible if anyone is injured by his dog.  This is true even if someone is injured indirectly.  For example, if the dog is not on a leash, and chases a child into the street, and the child is hit by a car, the owner could be held responsible.

Dogs known to be aggressive

Some dogs that have a history of violence or aggression.  If there is a record of the dog’s dangerous propensity, the owner will likely be responsible for any damages or veterinary bills.  Depending on the specific laws in your state, the owner could be liable for harboring an aggressive or violent animal.  If your dog is killed, or must be put down, the owner could also be responsible for the original amount you paid for your pet.

If you have questions regarding dog bite injuries, or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office, either online or by calling us at (888) 433-4861.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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