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Neighbor lets small dogs run free. If my dogs harm his, who would be responsible and how can I avoid this happening at all?

South Bend, IN |

I have two large dogs that are on a tether when they're outside because my yard it's fully fenced. My neighbor lets his two Chihuahuas freely run around the neighborhood I've seen them multiple times in my back yard, but never when my dogs have been outside. My dogs have never hurt another dog, but they play rough with small dogs because of their size. I'm very careful with my dogs but I can't supervise them 100% of the time and I don't feel like I need to as long as they're well within the boundaries of my property. I can not complete the fence because I am renting the house. I try to be a responsible dog owner, I'm just afraid someone else's lack of responsibility could be placed on me. He refuses to keep them in his own yard.

I didn't see my typo. My yard is NOT fully fenced.

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Attorney answers 2


I do not practice in Indiana, but typically, you would not be liable if the Chihuahua's came onto your rental property and were attacked by your dogs. I suggest that you send your neighbor a certified letter warning him that it is not safe to have his small dogs running around the neighborhood. I would keep a log of each time that you see the dogs loose and repeatedly report him to animal control.

This is not to be construed as legal advice. I do not have an attorney client relationship with you.


A written log of each complaint to Animal Control is in order; photographs are even better.

Be careful not to suggest that your dogs are in any way aggressive; it must be clear that the other dogs' owner is the negligent party.

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