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Neighbors dogs broke through the fence, killing my dog. Am I entitled to anything other than cost of dog?

Stockton, CA |

They are renters, never EVER home, dogs are still there. Would I contact the owner of the the complex (small apartment type, but detached homes with back yards)? I filed a police report as well as called animal control. They received a letter but animals are still there and no one has come to fence the broken fence.

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Attorney answers 2


If the fence belongs to you, you are entitled to be reimbursed for the cost of repairing the fence. You are also entitled to recover the replacement value of your dog and/or veterinary bills if your dog received treatment prior to its death. Unfortunately, the law in California still treats pets as personal property although the law is gradually evolving in recognition that companion animals have a unique and familial relationship with their owners.
While it is clear that the owners of the dogs are strictly liable for the damages caused by their pets, as indicated above the amount of damages that you can recover is still very limited.
There is very little that attorneys can do to help you considering that translating a personal property loss into compensatory damages generally results in very limited recoveries. You do have a right to sue but ultimately the cost of litigation will not be warranted by your financial recovery.
The tenants may or may not have renter’s insurance for this loss. If the tenants have no renter’s insurance, you may find it difficult to collect anything. The owner of the apartment building would be insured but would only be legally responsible if the owner’s negligence in some way contributed to your loss.

LICENSED AND ACCEPTING CASES IN CALIFORNIA & UTAH - 911LAW.ORG - Former Judge Pro Tem in California Superior Court. CALIFORNIA PERSONAL INJURY CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY LAWYER. ST GEORGE UTAH PERSONAL INJURY CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY LAWYER. Attorney responses are provided for informational and educational purposes only and do not create an attorney client relationship. Such responses represent the attorney’s initial analysis based only upon the facts set forth in the question. Since the question may not include all of the facts or omit material facts or timelines which could affect the attorney’s conclusions, attorney responses should not be construed as legal advice for any particular set of facts but only as a preliminary opinion.


Your collectible damages include the cost of the dog, the repair of the fence and the vet bills resulting from the kill right before death.