It would be my suggestion to do whatever you can to prevent a problem with the neighbors. Put your suggestions in writing that you want to meet with them, and have the dogs get to know each other in a neutral area. You could even get an opinion letter from your vet as to the proper way to introduce canines to each other. Creating a paper trail will go a long way in establishing you were the reasonable one.
Then, if the neighbors do nothing to help alleviate a problem, and then their dogs are injured, you at least have a defense to their claim you acted unreasonably. However, the law in Washington is the owner of the dog will be strictly liable for the injuries their dog causes.
RCW 16.08.040 imposes strict liability for dog bites sustained by persons in public and certain other places regardless of whether the dog is known to be vicious before the biting. That statute by its terms, however, applies only to "(t)he owner" of the dog.
It sounds like your dog has not actually bit the other dog at this point. I agree with the other attorneys. Try to get something in writing and make sure your home owners/renters insurance covers dog bites.
Any accident and legal information provided by Davis Law Group to non-clients is for general information purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created or maintained without a signed written agreement between the client and the law firm.
Under the Seattle Municipal Code, you could be cited for "permitting your dog to bite a domestic animal." Documentation of your efforts to avoid injury could convince a judge to reduce the fine or dismiss in a mitigation hearing. You could also have a civil suit filed against you, but the paper trail would assist you in formulating a defense.
This is not to be construed as legal advice. I do not have an attorney client relationship with you.
A roundup of the best tips and legal advice.