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Are the peoples dog whom attacked my dog obligated to pay the vet bills?

Brooklyn, NY |

My boyfriend was walking our beagle and while he was peeing this guys female pitt bull mix ripped 5 inches of skin from my dogs chest. The muscle was exposed. The skin was nowhere to be seen. My dog was just using the bathroom . Both dogs were on happened so fast . The other dog owner said that their dogs never done this before but it did some $5000 worth of damage. Which we can barely pay for. They said they'd pay half but I need them to do better than that.

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Attorney answers 7


This is a small claim case and they are liable. That said, it may be better just taking what you can and running.


You have to prove the owner had proof their dog had vicious propensities.

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Eric Edward Rothstein

Eric Edward Rothstein


I should also say there is case law that says viciousness can be proven by the seriousness of the attack itself.


You have to prove vicious propensities. It may be easier to prove considering the dog involved was a pitbull. This excerpt from New York Jurisprudence, Second Edition may prove helpful to you:

"While some courts have suggested that the vicious propensities of certain animals are so well-known as to be almost a subject of judicial notice, there is no authority for the proposition that judicial notice may be taken as to the ferocity of any particular type of domestic animal or pet. [See Sorel v. Iacobucci, 221 A.D.2d 852(3d Dep't 1995)]. The New York Court of Appeals has refrained from holding that any particular breed or kind of domestic animal is dangerous, nor has it held that male domestic animals kept for breeding or female domestic animals caring for their young are dangerous as a class." See NYJUR ANIMALS § 164.

Personally, I like your chances as a plaintiff.

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Small claims ct


Since the viciousness of the attack can be evidence of the vicious propensities, you have a good chance of prevailing.


This is not a personal injury claim, but actually one for property damage. Speak with a general practice attorney.

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I suggest you first get your half before actually starting any legal action for the other half. Any lawsuit will have to sound in negligence as the owner would most likely deny any knowledge of vicious propensity, the latter which should be checked with local animal control records.

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