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  1. #1

    Default Dog Killed by Neighbor's Dogs

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: Oregon

    A couple of days ago I was walking my dog on a leash and my neighbor's friend crossed the sidewalk in front of me. A couple seconds later the neighbor's 2 dogs (a large aggressive breed with a bad reputation) ran out coming straight for my dog. The attack lasted about a minute. The friend was trying to control the one dog and I was trying to stop the other one. Neither dog had leashes or collars. After about a minute and many, many bites later I was able to scoop up my dog (a small terrier/Corgi mix) and run inside. Both of my hands were bitten during the altercation, though they seem like very minor injuries.
    My dog spent the night in the dog hospital and the decision was made the next day to euthanize him. This was not an easy decision. We ended up paying about $1000 that night, money we didn't really have. The doctors told us to continue on with his treatment would be at least a couple thousand dollars and depending on the extent of his injuries could be up to $10,000. The fact that we had no money, unfortunately made our decision.
    Several months ago I was watching a neighbor's dog and the same thing happened. The owners were able to grab their dogs before any biting occurred. Animal control says the only thing that will happen is they will require the dogs to be on leashes and muzzled when outside.
    I've suffered a lot of trauma this weekend as has my six year old. I'm considering therapy for both of us. I'm afraid to let my son play outside now and I can no longer let my cat out. Getting another dog isn't even an option with those dogs next door.
    The dogs owner texted me that he will pay the vet bills although it will take a couple months.
    We live in rental condos/townhomes. Each one has a different owner, but they are all rented out and managed by the same apartment management company.
    Should I wait and hope the dogs owner pays my bills or try and get the management companies insurance to pay it? Can I get compensated for therapy bills? Can I ask for emotional damages? If my neighbor's or their dogs don't get kicked out would I be able to sue the management company for moving costs?

    Update: I found out from apartment management that one of those dogs bit the UPS driver a couple months ago. They never reported it because the UPS driver said he was going to. Animal control has no record of this.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Dog Killed by Neighbor's Dogs

    You can sue the neighbors for failing to properly restrain their dogs, resulting in the injury to your dog. You won't recover any damages for "considering therapy", and should not assume that your therapy bills will be recovered from the dog owners if and when you follow through with therapy.

    We do not have the facts to assess whether the property management company would have any liability. A landlord does not become liable for the acts of a tenant's dog merely by virtue of the tenancy. You can see if you can get information about the property management / landlord's insurance policy and, if so, submit a claim and see how they respond. If tenants are required to carry insurance under their leases, you can see if the landlord can give you information about the dog owner's insurance so that you can make a claim; you can also ask the dog owner if they have insurance that might cover the vet bills, but even if they have insurance they don't have to share the information -- the only way to compel disclosure of the information is through a court.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Dog Killed by Neighbor's Dogs

    Quote Quoting Elgordo Vanderstelt
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    The dogs owner texted me that he will pay the vet bills although it will take a couple months.
    Don't count on it. Delay is the deadliest form of denial. I would sue him now.

    Quote Quoting Elgordo Vanderstelt
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    We live in rental condos/townhomes.
    All the more reason to sue now. As a tenant, he's capable of disappearing overnight.

    Quote Quoting Elgordo Vanderstelt
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    try and get the management companies insurance to pay it?
    You can try.

    Quote Quoting Elgordo Vanderstelt
    View Post
    Update: I found out from apartment management that one of those dogs bit the UPS driver a couple months ago. They never reported it because the UPS driver said he was going to. Animal control has no record of this.
    The management company's prior knowledge of dangerous dogs could make them liable.

    Quote Quoting Elgordo Vanderstelt
    View Post
    Can I get compensated for therapy bills? Can I ask for emotional damages? If my neighbor's or their dogs don't get kicked out would I be able to sue the management company for moving costs?
    Generally, you would only be entitled to the market value of your dog plus the vet bills.

    However, in Williams v. Spinola (1981) the trial court awarded punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. The Court of Appeals reversed the award of punitive damages ruling that it was not appropriate in that case. However, the Court of Appeals appears to have left the door open for the possibility of punitive damages depending on the circumstances:

    We do not consider that punitive damages would serve their intended function under the circumstances here presented. We said in Senn v. Bunick, 40 Or.App. 33, 41, 594 P.2d 837, rev. den. 287 Or. 149 (1979):

    “More succinctly, it has been stated that ‘it is proper to use the sanction of punitive damages where there has been a particularly aggravated disregard’ of the rights of others and ‘where the violation of societal interests is sufficiently great and of a kind that sanctions would tend to prevent * * *.’ Noe v. Kaiser Foundation Hosp., 248 Or. 420, 425, 435 P.2d 306 (1967), 27 A.L.R.3d 1268 (1969). The impact of punitive damages is supposed to be a ‘civilizing influence.’ Douglas v. Humble Oil, (251 Or. 310, 445 P.2d 590 (1968)), 251 Or. at 316 (445 P.2d 590).”
    https://www.animallaw.info/case/williams-v-spinola

    Whether you'd be successful arguing that in court is anybody's guess. Oregon's small claims limit is $10,000 so there is certainly room to plead compensatory and punitive damages and see how it goes.

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