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Animal Control during fumigation

San Francisco, CA |

I need to get my house fumigated but my house shares a common wall with the neighbour's house. The pest control guy said that we need to inform the neighbour about the fumigation since part of the tent would come on the neighbour's side of the wall. We spoke with the neighbour and she was kind of OK but she was concerned about her two medium sized dogs. She said she cannot keep them locked in the house for the duration of fumigation (couple of days) and also she said she is away from home most of the time. She said she would be on vacation during spring break, which does not work for us. So now as per law are we just supposed to inform her about the fumigation and it is her responsibility to restrain the dogs at the mentioned time and if something happens to her dogs can she sue us?

Attorney Answers 4


I think that as long as you notify your neighbor exactly when this fumigation is happening and that the recommendation is that she and her dogs should consider other lodging for a couple of days, I think you are ok legally. However, from a good neighbor standpoint, you ought to try to work with your neighbor. Perhaps offer to help with dog kennel fees or a hotel room for her and her dogs.

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You and the fumigation company if damage is done to her property, including her dogs. Hopefully you have up to date renters insurance to protect you in the event of a claim. Her dogs will need to be kept away from the poisonous fumes., Perhaps you could agree to pay for all or part of the cost of boarding the dogs for the 2 days in question. That would certainly be cheaper than defending a lawsuit.

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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

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There is no legal mechanism by which you can stop someone from suing you. So, yes, she can sue. It does not mean she will win. You may want to give her any literature that the fumigation company has given you about the precautions to take and any side effects. Animals are considered personal property under the law, so if her dogs get harmed (hopefully that won't happen) or die (breathing in two days of fumigation is not good), she can recover the value of the dog/reduction of value of the dog and any associated bills. She can not recover emotional distress of pain and suffering for her or the dogs. California has one very narrow exception, but it does not apply in your case. Again, that's if she wins. Anyone can sue anyone. Winning is another story. I'm really upset she's willing to leave her dogs there during the fumigation--she is an irresponsible dog owner. Just cover yourself with documents and witnesses that you gave her warning and information. I agree with my colleagues that if a claim is made, you should tender it to your insurance.

We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I have made do not constitute legal advice. Any statements I have made are based upon the very limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in California.

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Anyone can sue. Best to have insurance before you do anything.

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