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My dog bit another dog, will he be put down?

Mansfield, MA |

My sister decided to take the dog for a walk, on the walk the dog and another dog started lunging at each other. Our dog hurt the other dog so that he needed stitches. The owner was hysterical and still is very upset. We gave them our information and when we went over to talk to them they said they are calling the police because they want our dog to be put down. They proceeded to tell us what bad owners we are and how our dog has not been socialized properly. This is his first time ever attacking or biting anyone or anything. Our dog also has scratches and little bites on his body but not like the other dog. I really do not want my dog to be put down. We offered to pay all bills for the dog. Can they have my dog killed?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. That decision is up to the animal control officer first and then Board of Selectmen on appeal if necessary. If this is an absolutes incident, I would hope not. The offer to make all good financially + lack of history will hopefully make the emotion of the moment blow over.

    To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.


  2. Why are you assuming you're at fault? It sounds like both dogs were injured and it's not clear which dog started it--the winner is not always the dog who started the fight.

    I would get a lawyer, and/or would, at the least, refrain from confessing guilt.

    Do you want accurate, personalized, legal advice that you can rely on? You will have to hire an attorney, not ask on Avvo. I am not your attorney and am not creating an attorney-client relationship by this post. I am therefore giving only general advice. This advice may not apply to you or your situation; may not take account of all possibilities, and may not match the advice I would give to a client. DO NOT rely on this advice or any other advice on Avvo to make your legal decisions. If you want an answer to a legal question you should retain an attorney who is licensed in your state.


  3. The answer to your question depends upon the code applicable in your area. It appears as though you live in the City of Mansfield. I do not practice in MA and certainly not in Mansfield. The code shows a dangerous animal declaration and appeal procedure. It appears as though your dog could be declared dangerous and you could appeal the designation. There is also a defense of provocation which may apply in your case. If your dog is deemed dangerous and you lose the appeal, you could be required to remove your dog from the jurisdiction or euthanize your dog. I suggest that contact a local attorney familiar with the dangerous dog laws in your area. Dangerous dog appeals should not be done without the assistance of an attorney.

    This is not to be construed as legal advice. I do not have an attorney client relationship with you.


  4. Get a personal injury lawyer out of Mansfield to help, because there are likely to be local issues. Otherwise, a lawyer from a large nearby city. Maybe it was the other dog's fault. Get a free consultation.

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