There are many of us who have handled and handle animal law cases and are major pet lovers. What type of case or damages do you want to "go after them" for though? Any medical expenses that you are out of as the result of the death of your dog should be covered under restitution as part of the criminal case. As far as emotional damages and pain and suffering, understand that unfortunately the law in CO and most states views that pets are considered to just be personal property (like silverware or china) instead of a living, breathing, loving, caring, and compassionate being with a soul. The truth is that we oftentimes form closer relationships with our dogs than we do fellow humans and they are always there for us unconditionally when humans are not. You possibly do have a law suit on your hands. However, I need to advise you that it will likely be expensive and lengthy. Call around to schedule initial free consultations with some of us and get their advice.
The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are interested in his legal services, feel free to call Chris at (303) 409-7635 at his law office in the Denver Tech Center. All initial consultations are free of charge.
I agree with what Christopher noted. I am sorry about your dog. Our dogs really capture our hearts.
A few other items are probably relevant. Any chance these other dogs have a history of attacks? I do not know in Colorado if you can check with the local animal control for records on the dogs. Probably, you can.
Who maintained the fence and was it in good repair? This will be an issue.
Be sure to get photos of fence, your dog (sorry but yes) and the attack area.
With behavior like this, my bet is these dogs have a history, and thus the owners (maybe your neighbors) have knowledge of their propensity for violence.
You should talk with some lawyers (look for animal law lawyers and personal injury lawyers in your area) about what possible claims you may have.
I do not know the law in your state regarding whether any action exists for what your son saw (some sort of emotional distress type claim) and a lot would depend on what he saw. The law in Colorado might not allow for such a recovery.
I am sorry this happened. A really odd but devastating incident. Go talk to counsel and see what they think your options are in Colorado.
Best of luck to you!
This reply is not an attempt to solicit business. Tara Millan's reply is not to be considered a legal opinion regarding your inquiry. No attorney client relationship has been established with Millan's reply to your inquiry. Your matter is state specific and state laws and regulations most likely apply that are not mentioned in this reply. The information provided was in reply to a general question and cannot be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the information provided establish an attorney client relationship. Seek out an attorney with whom you can fully explain your unique situation and enter into an attorney client relationship with that attorney.
Rough situation -- lucky no one was hurt. Be reasonable and ask these folks if they have an insurance (homeowners or renters) that would cover the actions of the dogs. If they do, ask for the contact info and make a claim. That's the place to start.
If there is no cooperation, talk to an attorney that deals with dog damages cases.
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.
Mr. Leroi is right. Your best option, and quickest, is pursing restitution for the criminal case. You may be able to do this without an attorney. You need to organize your damages and bring proof. The victims' advocates are a great resource. I suggest you fill out the Victim Impact Statement ASAP. Call if you have any questions.
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