While walking my dog, three dogs from a neighbor's house, who were off leash and not in a fenced yard, ran after us and were barking. My dog was on leash but pulled away from me and ran after the dogs. It tackled one and bit it (apparently) on the leg. The dog's owner has presented a vet bill.
Are we liable under CT law?
The language of the Connecticut dog bite statute is as follows:
Sec. 22-357. Damage to person or property.
If any dog does any damage to either the body or property of any person, the owner or keeper, or, if the owner or keeper is a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor, shall be liable for such damage, except when such damage has been occasioned to the body or property of a person who, at the time such damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort, or was teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog. If a minor, on whose behalf an action under this section is brought, was under seven years of age at the time the damage was done, it shall be presumed that such minor was not committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog, and the burden of proof thereof shall be upon the defendant in such action. (1949 Rev., S. 3404; 1953, S. 1842d; 1969, P.A. 439, S. 1.)
If you have homeowner's insurance, they will resolve this for you. 1/3 of all homeowners insurance claims paid out are from dog bites, thus, contact your homeowners insurance company to handle.
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Under the facts you presented, yes, you are. Here's why - the three dogs were on their own property, you did not have proper control of your dog, your dog ran onto their property and bit one of their dogs. The fact that the other dogs were not fenced and barked at your dog is irrelevant.
You may or may not want to give this to your homeowner's insurance company - depends on your deductible and how it handles dog bite claims.
If we do not have a signed fee agreement I am not your attorney and this is not legal advice.
I doubt very much that you would be liable.
there is not anything you should be doing now. One thing to not do is pay the bill. If you get sued, (big if), then turn it into your homeowners insurance.
I can not imagine that an attorney would take on the case but they may try to sue you in a small claims court - so still turn it in to your home owners insurance.
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