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We live in a townhome in Florida with common area where our dog was attacked by three other loose dogs. What are our rights? thx

Miami, FL |

We live in a townhome/condo in Florida with a common area where there are garages and a gate . We were going to throw out the trash walking with our dog on a leash and 3 loose dogs from other properties ran towards us and attacked ours. I couldn't do anything because I was afraid they could bite me. The owners came but they were far so it took almost a minute, unfortunately our dog has tree bites on his ear. We documented it and took photos of one of his ears was bitten with blood. The whole attack was dangerous, and I was very worried and disturbed too. Could you please share with us our rights and the best way to proceed? There is an association and for one of the dogs the owner is the president of the homeowner association. We think no dogs should be loose in any common area? Thank you

Attorney Answers 4


  1. What does your homeowner assn. Policy and procedure book say about loose dogs? If it is forbidden, then make a complaint against the dog owners with the Association. Thankfully your dog survived. I could not wait to read to see if your dog survived. The particular area where this happened, is it a designated dog run area? Did your dog have to go to the Vet.? You can recover your vet bills incurred to treat the injuries. Do all of the dogs have updated rabies vaccine? If not, you better contact animal control and make a report of the attack and the problem with the vaccine. For vet bills, make a claim against all three dog owners. Good luck and watch out for these attack dogs.


  2. No dogs should be loose on the common area. I agree with Attorney Tackett. Homeowners Associations have been held liable for dog injuires on their property. The problem with pursing this claim is the amount of time it will take given the amount of damages (vet bills). I don't see it as the type of case an attorney will take on a contingency fee. The problem with not pusuing the claim is what happens if the next time it's you attacked by the dogs. Good luck.

    The contents of this answer should be considered friendly advice, not legal advice and the answer should not be construed to constitute an attorney-client relationship.


  3. The owners of the dogs who attacked your dogs are absolutely responsible for the damages the dogs did to your dogs. There is a dog bite statute in Florida that makes the liability nearly absolute. Many homeowners insurance policies cover dog bites. If you damages are slight, you could file a small claims action at the nearest courthouse. The clerk will help you with the forms.

    The homeowners association might also be responsible on a negligence theory but you should be able to recover your demands directly from the owners of the dogs.

    This is a summary based on incomplete facts. You should not rely on it as legal advise. No attorney-client relationship is intended to be formed.


  4. Contact the local police and report the attack and the names and addresses of the owners of the dogs.

    Under Florida law, these owners will most likely be fully responsible for the damages caused to your dog or yourself. I suggest you have your dog treated and submit the bill to the owners of the 3 dogs for reimbursement through their homeowners insurance carrier.

    You may also wish to review the condominium regulations concerning loose dogs. If there were no such regulations, you may want to become more involved in your homeowners Association and seek changes.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    Legal Disclaimer: If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

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