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Can I be sued over a dog scratch if rabies and all other shots are current?

Cary, NC |

She lied to hospital and said my dog bit her, medical report says there is a very small area of broken skin that appears to be a scratch not a bite. My dog is still required to be quarantined for 10 days since an area of skin was broken, but all shots are current. She wants $5000 for pain and suffering over a small scratch from a nail that may possibly have been caused by her OWN dog and not mine.

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Does not sound like her injuries are serious. Good for you that your dog is up to date with his/her shots-that helps.

Yes, they can likely keep your dog for the ten (10) days.

Are you able to show it was not your dog (i.e., your dog was that day at the neighbor's house four blocks away, or the neighbors saw the dogs fighting and the suing neighbor reached her hand in to stop the fight and her own dog scratched her)?

Is she taking you to small claims?

Take this seriously though. Yes, she can sue you. From this point on, do not engage in verbal communications with this person. My guess is that any discussions may become heated and you might say something untoward.

Communicate with this person in writing. Gather up what you can to show it was not your dog-if that is possible. Get any witnesses who can talk about where and how big the scratch was.

If you have to go to small claims on this you want to be prepared!

I would see if you can get a local attorney to sit down with you for thirty (30) mins to help you understand what to expect should this go to small claims.

Best of luck to you!

This reply is not an attempt to solicit business. Tara Millan's reply is not to be considered a legal opinion regarding your inquiry. No attorney client relationship has been established with Millan's reply to your inquiry. Your matter is state specific and state laws and regulations most likely apply that are not mentioned in this reply. The information provided was in reply to a general question and cannot be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the information provided establish an attorney client relationship. Seek out an attorney with whom you can fully explain your unique situation and enter into an attorney client relationship with that attorney.



Thank you. I filed a claim with my renters insurance and they told me not to pay out of pocket and let them investigate. They will access animal control notes in report where a witness did give a statement that they never saw my dog touch her but they did see her own dog in her arms scratching her. My dog was out off leash because my child's friend left the door open so I may still be found liable, but I will not sumbit to the extortion and will wait to see if this goes to small claims.. my dog has had no other incidences, the medical report from the doctor says it appears to be a scratch not a bite... They did take my dog today for the quarantine but at least we will get her back. Thanks for the advice.


She can certainly sue you, but she would have to prove her case to the court. You can not stop anyone from suing you. Anyone can sue anyone. But winning is another story. She does not have to suffer rabies to sue you. She can sue for a scratch if she wants. But she'd have to prove her damages to the court, and the fact that it was your dog.


Avvo Email - Have no legal fearYou can be sued. You can be sued for virtually anything, whether or not it's frivelous. Try not to think of it as extortion, and not to fear the lawsuit ifyou have a good defense. five thousand may be excessive for the injury complained of, and it may be unwarranted if it wasn't your dog, or even if it was your dog and there was no negligence.
Take a look at your homeowner's policy or other applicable insurance policies and call to see fi they would cover and what the deductible would be. You may be able to pay the deductible and the insurance company would defend your claim, if you get sued or a demand letter present.
You could offer to reimburse the copay for the doctor visit and say that it is not an admission of any responsibility or liability when you do so.

If your dog has had no prior incidences, it should not be classified as a dangerous dog.


**Disclaimer** I am licensed to practice in North Carolina. I practice out of Raleigh and Wake County. This answer, to the extent it provides legal advice, is fact specific, and only intended for the jurisdiction where I am licensed.

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