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  1. #1

    Default Delivering Food, I Was Attacked by a Dog. Who is in the Wrong

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: New York

    I work a volunteer job bringing food to shut-ins (a.k.a. meals-on-wheels). Last week, there was a new client on the route. When I finally found the house, there were signs out on the chain link fence: "NO TRESPASSING" and "BEWARE OF DOG" and a bungee-type chain on the gate. I opened the gate and went to the door, assuming I was expected and rang the doorbell, but no one came to the door.

    If no one comes to the door withing a reasonable time, we are instructed to then try to open the door and check on the client (welfare check). I opened the door (but didn't actually go inside) about a foot and called "HELLO! HELLO!" When I did that, a boxer looking dog came bounding out and nipped me on the arm (not serious - didn't even bleed, more like a scrape), but it continued to was snarl and snap at me and jumping all over. I had to kick it the chest to get it all back inside so I could close the door. During all this, the client never replied or made their presence known. Of course, I reported it to the meal service, but being a long weekend, no one was in the office. Even when they get the message, I don't know what they can do about it. It seems to me this should all have been arranged prior to my arrival so that I would have been expected and this wouldn't have happened.

    Who is the wrong party here - me for ignoring the trespassing signs when I was instructed to deliver a meal, the meal service for not insuring I was expected by the client, or the client who knew a meal was going to be delivered (or they wouldn't be on the list) and was obviously not there?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,493

    Default Re: Delivering Food, I Was Attacked by a Dog. Who is in the Wrong

    Quote Quoting debodun
    View Post
    My question involves criminal law for the state of: New York

    I work a volunteer job bringing food to shut-ins (a.k.a. meals-on-wheels). Last week, there was a new client on the route. When I finally found the house, there were signs out on the chain link fence: "NO TRESPASSING" and "BEWARE OF DOG" and a bungee-type chain on the gate. I opened the gate and went to the door, assuming I was expected and rang the doorbell, but no one came to the door.

    If no one comes to the door withing a reasonable time, we are instructed to then try to open the door and check on the client (welfare check). I opened the door (but didn't actually go inside) about a foot and called "HELLO! HELLO!" When I did that, a boxer looking dog came bounding out and nipped me on the arm (not serious - didn't even bleed, more like a scrape), but it continued to was snarl and snap at me and jumping all over. I had to kick it the chest to get it all back inside so I could close the door. During all this, the client never replied or made their presence known. Of course, I reported it to the meal service, but being a long weekend, no one was in the office. Even when they get the message, I don't know what they can do about it. It seems to me this should all have been arranged prior to my arrival so that I would have been expected and this wouldn't have happened.

    Who is the wrong party here - me for ignoring the trespassing signs when I was instructed to deliver a meal, the meal service for not insuring I was expected by the client, or the client who knew a meal was going to be delivered (or they wouldn't be on the list) and was obviously not there?
    I think that the fault goes all the way around. However, it mostly falls on you. You shouldn't have opened the door when you saw the "beware of dog" sign.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    California
    Posts
    411

    Default Re: Delivering Food, I Was Attacked by a Dog. Who is in the Wrong

    What are you looking to gain? Yes, the company should have made sure the client knew food was coming but when you have a warning that tells there's a dog and it's not in the yard, you don't open the front door. Leave the food on the porch and go.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Delivering Food, I Was Attacked by a Dog. Who is in the Wrong

    Quote Quoting LegalWriter
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    Leave the food on the porch and go.
    We can't leave food if we do not see the client. The meals have to be placed in the hand of the client or another responsible person. We are instructed to also check on the client to make sure they are okay. It put me in the middle of following the meal service's instructions or the client's.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,036

    Default Re: Delivering Food, I Was Attacked by a Dog. Who is in the Wrong

    Quote Quoting debodun
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    We are instructed to also check on the client to make sure they are okay. It put me in the middle of following the meal service's instructions or the client's
    So, you are admitting that you blindly follow instructions and don't have the ability to apply common sense to them?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Delivering Food, I Was Attacked by a Dog. Who is in the Wrong

    I am admitting that I assumed the client was informed that meals would be delivered and take steps to see someone was there to accept them and have the dog under control.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,125

    Default Re: Delivering Food, I Was Attacked by a Dog. Who is in the Wrong

    And the client would assume you would trespass on the property to make the delivery how?
    Frankly around here if you opened someone's door like that, you'd be more likely to find a bullet going through you than fangs.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,709

    Default Re: Delivering Food, I Was Attacked by a Dog. Who is in the Wrong

    a big problem in this entire system is sometimes the elderly aren’t completely clear minded. That means they may not remember mow is coming “today” or within any time frame.


    presuming the delivery is prearranged, the trespassing sign is moot. You have been invited to enter for the purpose of delivering the meal.

    the bigger problem is the beware of dog sign. You got lucky with this one. I have known dogs that were more or less silent until they attacked. If such a dog was outside you would have been bitten, maybe worse. I would hesitate to enter any property that has such a sign without the resident being present. Too many possibilities.

    As far as welfare checks: it’s an honorable intent but unless the resident is aware of the possibility of you entering the home at the actual time of entry, well, I’m surprised nobody has been shot yet. Some elderly are quite protective of their home and may shoot somebody entering their home. I realize you knock but it’s possible all that did was wake them up and they never heard you announce who you are until it’s too late.

    While meals on wheels is a great service, there has to be some specific details worked out with each recipient as to any details neeeding to be known at the time of delivery. No delivery person should be getting bitten by a dog, or worse.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Delivering Food, I Was Attacked by a Dog. Who is in the Wrong

    Quote Quoting jk
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    presuming the delivery is prearranged, the trespassing sign is moot. You have been invited to enter for the purpose of delivering the meal.

    Well, that's what I thought. It was never a problem before this and I've been working on meal delivery for 8 years. Also, if a client is not going to be home between 11 am and 1 pm, they are supposed to call the meal service and cancel delivery for that day. I entered with good intentions, assuming all the proper arrangements had been made. Whoever scheduled the meals for this client should have followed through with instructions to them, or the client call and cancel.

    Quote Quoting flyingron
    View Post
    And the client would assume you would trespass on the property to make the delivery how?
    How am I supposed to make sure the client gets the meal unless I go to the door, and that door is 20 feet inside a chain link fence?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,036

    Default Re: Delivering Food, I Was Attacked by a Dog. Who is in the Wrong

    Quote Quoting debodun
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    Well, that's what I thought. It was never a problem before this and I've been working on meal delivery for 8 years.
    It only takes once to get you mauled by a dog, or shot. I've had burglary claims in rural areas where the insured says "I've been here all my life and never had to lock my door." Well, dude, you were long overdue.

    Quote Quoting debodun
    View Post

    How am I supposed to make sure the client gets the meal unless I go to the door, and that door is 20 feet inside a chain link fence?
    How about carrying the clients' phone numbers with you in case you run into that scenario again.

    Even mail carriers that are supposed to deliver in rain, snow, sleet, whatever, are allowed to say no to dog risks.

    Your employer needs to revisit that welfare check thing or he's going to have a very large workers compensation claim on his insurance.

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