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If two people rent a home together and one tenant brings a dog home that attacks the other tenant.....

Weymouth, MA |

I am renting a house with another man and about 6 months ago he bought a dog that bites me whenever I come downstairs from my room. There are two bedrooms and a shared kitchen, living room, bathroom & dining room. I have asked the other tenant to get a muzzle for the dog or to keep it out of the common areas so I don't fear being bit if I have to use them, but he refuses saying "I must be hurting the dog for it to be biting me" (I would NEVER hurt an animal). I have told the landlord about the dog attacks & even shown him the bites and scars I have but he isn't helping me. I am a prisoner in my own home. I am looking for another place to live but no luck yet as I don't have the money for first, last and security saved up yet. Do I have any rights to get the dog removed until I can get out?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. You may want to consult with an attorney to discuss your options, which could include writing letters and/or seeking a court order to protect you. For example, you could consider writing a letter to the landlord telling him that you feel unsafe and stating that he has a legal obligation to act and that you hope he will so that you won't have to resort to the courts. If that is not successful, you could consider filing an application for a temporary restraining order against either the dog owner for failing to control his dog or against the landlord for failing to provide a safe environment for you despite repeated requests. The paperwork is simple and the clerk at your local district court can provide what you need. The cost is around $150 and you have a good chance of success based on the facts you state. It should at least buy you some time until you can find another place. And if the landlord tries to evict you as a result, the eviction would likely be retaliatory in violation of G.L. c. 186 s. 18.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.


  2. I agree with my colleague, but I have to ask, why haven't you called animal control? Have you sought medical care for the bites? Basically, this is going to be your word against the other tenant's unless you have some proof that the dog has bitten you.

    If we do not have a signed fee agreement I am not your attorney and this is not legal advice.

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