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Would I be responsible for vet bill if my dog harmed another dog?

Brandon, FL |

We recently moved into an apartment complex. The complex does not allow you to walk your dog without a leash. However, there is a neighbor who constantly walks her dog without a leash. My dog is in no way aggressive toward people but is sometimes aggressive toward other dogs. I never walk my dog without a leash but I am worried that this dog may approach mine (I have seen it do it to multiple others) and a fight will ensue. Would I be responsible for the other person's dog if this were to occur? I have contacted the apartment office and complained but she continues to let her dog roam the complex. I make an effort to avoid bringing my dog out while the other is out but I'd like to be aware of how far my liability goes.

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Attorney answers 3


Normally you would be liable for the vet bill. However, if your dog is leashed and under your control and the other dog is not leashed, then the other dog's owner has "unclean hands" and would likely be unable to compel you to pay for her vet bills.

This is not to be considered legal advice nor does an attorney-client relationship exist.


The general rule is that you are responsible for harm your animal causes. However, you set forth an encounter in which the other dog is allowed to run free in violation of the apartment rules while your dog is leashed. The other owner is clearly at fault for that breach, which will likely play a crucial role in the other dog having an encounter with yours.

Everyone has cell phones with cameras - photograph this woman letting her dog run free.

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


I agree with my peers that you would be liable in normal circumstances but under the scenario you stated I believe you have a good defense.

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