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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default Dogs Attacked Horses

    My question involves small claims court in the state of: Texas

    My neighbor is trying to take us to court for my 2 dogs who got into their yard and attacked a couple of their horses. The fence that divides our property is my neighbors. And they never would fix their fence to protect their mini horses. The dogs got under the fence and its right their where the horses are housed. They have seen it and have never fixed it even when some dogs from across the street have gone under and chased the horses. So my question is I do not feel we are 100% responsible as it is their fence that should have been fixed. This never would have happened. Their makeshift "barn" is facing our house right next to our yard.
    They want us to pay for the trailer they rented to take them to the vet as well.

    They said we owe them $1,000 in 7 days or we go to court. Which is what I have decided that I am going to do.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Dogs Attacked Horses

    So my question is I do not feel we are 100% responsible as it is their fence that should have been fixed.
    I don't think the judge is going to agree with you. Generally, municipalities require dog owners to ensure 100% of the time that their dog is properly contained.

    It doesn't matter if he bolts past you when you open the door to bring in the mail, jumps the fence, or yanks hard on his leash and boogies down the street (dragging your torn off limb behind!), you're still going to be held responsible for fetching him back into your control before he manages to cause a problem. (My own dog is a sociable chap who darts for the door at every opportunity. I have to do my best to spare my neighbors the sight of me chasing him down the street in my flannel jammies.)

    Since you knew there was a problem with the fence, you had a duty to supervise your dogs to ensure they didn't get out and get into trouble. This is what is going to give you grief in court.

    The judge may side with you a little bit and reduce the amount he awards, but I wouldn't expect too much of a reduction.

    I would suggest you put up a fence of your own on your side of the property line, to make sure your pooches don't get out again. It's expensive, yes. But it's far less of a hassle than being dragged to court for your dogs acting...well, like dogs...and saves you the potential heartbreak of losing your pups to accidents of the four-wheeled persuasion.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Dogs Attacked Horses

    Quote Quoting LawResearcherMissy
    View Post
    Since you knew there was a problem with the fence, you had a duty to supervise your dogs to ensure they didn't get out and get into trouble.
    Even if you didn't know, or even if there wasn't a problem with a fence, it's not the neighbor's problem to build or maintain a fence to keep your dogs OUT, it's your responsibility to keep your dogs IN. That job would certainly have been easier for you if the fence had been kept in shape, but the court is likely to equate this issue with you expecting an airbag in someone else's car to protect you during an accident.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,835

    Default Re: Dogs Attacked Horses

    They have seen it and have never fixed it even when some dogs from across the street have gone under and chased the horses. So my question is I do not feel we are 100% responsible as it is their fence that should have been fixed.

    In my state there is strict liability to the owner of an animal who kills or injures livestock, and here he could have even shot your dog and be technically within the law.

    What you are intending to argue as some type of legal defense is a comparative/contributory negligence theory.

    I'm not an attorney, but I don't see any here. Aside from strict liability, any attempt to argue such, you also "knew or should have known", the doctrine of "forseeability" that this could happen and you had a duty to prevent it.


    They want us to pay for the trailer they rented to take them to the vet as well.
    This seems reasonable. Yes, they have a duty to minimize/mitigate thier damages, but this seems proper.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Dogs Attacked Horses

    The fence was not there to keep your dogs out, it was there to keep their horses in, in which it did. Your dogs are like a minor child, you are repsonsible for their actions up to a point. I just had to bury my dad's dog yesterday because a couple of my neighbor's dogs came onto my dad's property and attacked her to the point where she couldn't even get up. My dad actually had to drive the dogs away to keep them from killing her, but the damage was already done and he had to put her out of her misery. We could sue the neighbors, but she was old, blind, and not very mobile and in the end she needed to put of out her misery.

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