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My dog killed a lady's chicken. I have offered to pay for the chicken. Am I liable for more?

Paradise, UT |

I was working at a jobsite. My dog went on to a neighboring property and killed the owner of that property's chicken. The owner was not at home. I let the person who hired me know. When the owner got home, he called the sheriff. I talked with the chicken owner's husband who said they were filing charges.

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You are liable for the value of the chicken but ALSO in many jurisdictions this could lead to your dog being classified as a "dangerous dog". I don't agree with this but it's true. If your dog is classified as "dangerous" you might have to purchase extra insurance, have a special pen constructed for him, and make the dog wear a tag stating he is dangerous. Usually also you must post signs on your property. Finally when a dog is classified as dangerous the dog probably will be immediately impounded if ever found loose again, and will be in danger of being killed. Again, these "dangerous dog" statutes are becoming more and more prevalent and often apply to a dog killing a chicken even though that's a natural thing for a dog to do. Try to stay off the radar of Animal Control because this is a very unfair process, in my opinion, one that harms people and their animals. If you do get stuck in the situation you need to contact an experienced lawyer who knows animal law.

This information is not intended as legal advice upon which a client or person should rely but merely as a guideline for further investigation of possible legal issues involved in the inquiry.


Report to your insurance company. If you have further questions, consult with a local lawyer. Good luck.


You are liable for the value of the chicken, which can't be too much.


Civil law for the most part imposes strict liability for damages by a dog even if not incurred by a bite. I can't comment on the likelihood of a criminal police charge, probably in the nature of a trespass. But, the last time I was in the grocery store, whole chickens were selling for $4.00 to $9.00 and the measure of damages would be the price that owner would get before market. Here's an article generally on dog damages: [Blue-Link-Below]

Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.


If any criminal charges are pressed you should contact a criminal defense attorney in Cache Valley. The attorney can give you better advice once they know more facts.

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