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Can I be sued because my dog attacked another dog?

Attleboro, MA |

I have already paid 10,000. in vet bills for their dog and I have run out of money.

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Attorney answers 3


Yes. Anybody can be sued for anything. However, liability for dog bites can be based upon a breach of town bylaws or failure to use due care in caring for the dog. If town bylaws have leash laws and you failed to keep your dog on a leash, this could be a basis for suing. You have an obligation to use reasonable care to prevent harm to others from your dog. This duty is increased if you know or should know that the dog has dangerous propensities. In particular, if your dog has ever attacked or bit another dog or person before, then you know about the dog's dangerous propensities.


Yes, you can. Without knowing the details of what happened, it's hard to say if any suit would be successful. You should have spoken with a local attorney before paying anything. You need to talk to an attorney. The Massachusetts Bar Association can give you a referral:

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


This may sound heartless, but animals are property in the eyes of the law and the assessment of damages by a trier of fact will be conducted differently than it would be if your dog attacked a person. You are only required to make the other dog owner whole and a judge or a jury deciding your case may not view the expense of $10,000 in vet bills as a reasonable measure of the extent of his/her damages — they might but they might not — and you need to keep that in mind. If you elect not to pay anything further to the other dog owner and he/she continues to pursue you, you may want to explore whether there might be homeowners insurance or tenant insurance coverage to pay the damages.

The answer to this question is for informational purposes only and is expressly not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this without seeking advice from professional advisers.

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