Skip to main content

Need help with a dog off leash that attached and badly bit my dog (who was leashed)

San Jose, CA |

In San Jose, California, my husband, myself and two little kids (4 and 1) went on a walk with our 25 lb dog. The dog is very well behaved, gentle and was on the leash. Just as we were leaving our property, on the main sidewalk, an aggressive Rottweiler runs down the sidewalk from three houses down and attacks my dog. It bit my dog badly. He ended up in surgery due to a huge bite on his body. He is now at home taking pain pills and antibiotics but he is truly out of it emotionally. He won't walk, he is shaking and shivering constantly. It has been 2 days and my dog won’t eat or move. I am very worried about him. Aside from obviously getting the other dog’s owner to pay the entire bill, do I have any other legal remedy? The aggressive rottweiler was off leash and attacked us.


Attacked not attached - sorry for misspelling

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


Unfortunately, animals are personal property under the law, so all you are limited to is the vet bills and any diminished value of your pet, if applicable. You can not recover for pain and suffering/mental/emotional distress damages for loss of, or damage to, property for yourself or the dog. If the owners balk at the bills, sue them. You should also report this is a crime since it is against the law to have the dog unleashed like that. Also, make complaints to both Animal Control and the City both will open a file on the animal and if it has any complaints in the past, they will start a fining and hearing process on the dog owners. There is one California decision from OC in which pet owners were allowed emotional distress damages, but it is for a very narrow premise and last I checked it was not law of the state.

We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I have made do not constitute legal advice. Any statements I have made are based upon the very limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in California.


I'm sorry to hear about your situation. The following guide should contain helpful information:

You should consider discussing this case with a personal injury attorney. The owner of the rottweiler is liable for your dog's damages. Best of luck to you and your dog.

Golnar Sargeant

Golnar Sargeant


Great guide Mr. Rubinstein, I greatly enjoyed reading it.

Michael Elliott Rubinstein

Michael Elliott Rubinstein


Thank you--I hope it's helpful.


Your second response (the first being getting your dog treated, of course) should have been to file complaints with both the police and Animal Control. You do not state whether you did that.

You should use this time to document any further incidents of the rottweiler being off-leash, particularly any attacks. Neighbors may be helpful.

When you have ascertained ALL your damages; vet costs, prescriptions, lost wages, etc., you can send a demand letter to the dog's owner(s). Should they fail to respond, you can sue them in Small Claims or retain counsel. Given the evolution of animal case law, retaining counsel would be beneficial.

The foregoing is for general information purposes and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer