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Vicious Dog

Discussion in 'Other Legal Issues' started by muse, Aug 22, 2005.

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  1. muse

    muse Law Topic Starter New Member

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    We own a mastiff. Our neighbor owns a pit bull. The pit bull has a history of digging under the fence and coming into our yard. We never sustained any damages and the pit bull and my dog seemed to get along, so every time it happened we would just shoo the pit bull back in his yard and/or get the neighbors to come get him. We told them they needed to make sure that didnt happen, as I have 4 small children and dont want that pit bull in our yard when they are.

    Last week, another dog got into our yard, a smaller collie from down the street. She also dug a whole under our fence (we are on a corner, so the back yard fence in on the street). Our dog never gets out. So this little collie comes into my yard, and then the pit bull comes into my yard, and attacked and killed the collie. My dog ran and hid in his kennel. It was the most awful vicious thing i have ever seen a dog do, the pit basically ripped the collie's throat out.

    I called animal control and made a complaint about the pit bull. The neighbor is angry and says animal control sent her a letter. As far as i know they never came to my house or hers. The neighbors put some concrete bricks at the base of the fence, but last night, the pit was in my yard again.

    I am terrified of the pit bull, after watching it kill that little dog. I'm scared to walk through my back yard to the garage where my laundry is. I wont let my children play in the back yard at all, even supervised... what am I going to do if that pit bull attacks one of them?

    The neighbor's response to all of this is that his kids love the dog and he cant consider getting rid of it... besides he wants to breed it. The owners of the collie are not in the country legally and are scared of getting involved (even though I explained that immigration has nothing to do with animal control). They are used to a country where bringing in the authorities only brings trouble. I do have other witnesses, my other neighbors also witness the pit bull kill the collie from their yard.

    What are my options? I have lost the use of my back yard! How can I get animal control to impound the dog? Who else can I call? The police refer me to animal control. Should I call the city attorney? Surely I dont have to wait until that pit bull has injurred another animal or -God forbid- a child. Two of my children are smaller than that collie it killed.

    Help! How do i force my neighbors to get rid of their vicious dog?
     
  2. NYClex

    NYClex New Member

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    Practical first step: Make sure your fence is in order so that the dog cannot come into your yard. That is the most important thing you should do in respect to your children. If necessary replace or reinforce the fence. The safety of your kids should be paramount.

    Then I would lean on your city's animal control department or whoever has jurisdiction and file an official complaint. You have witnessed a vicious attack and there should be reason for them to act. But it depends on their local laws and rules, what actually they can do.

    Then you could warn your neighbors that you might sue them if that dog ever enters your land again. And that you should probably do in that case.

    But these legal steps can only do so much. A sturdy, secure fence can do more.
     
  3. muse

    muse Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for your reply, I appreciate it.

    The fence is new... we split the cost with them about 6 months ago... its 6 ft. Their dog digs underneath it. I have also seen him scale it. They have lined their side with cinder blocks at the base, in the hopes the dog cant move them or dig around them. He still found soft ground at the corner and got into my yard.

    If the dog comes into the yard I can sue them for... what? So far, I have not suffered any damages, except psychological. Im not going to sue for that. I just want them to get rid of the dog, I dont want any cash.

    I have filed two seperate complaints with animal control, which means talking to Ms "I just write it down I dont know anything or have any power" who relays the complaint to animal control dispatch. I have specifically requested that an animal control officer contact us, but so far, we've not heard anything.

    My husband and family want to "help" move the process along, I was just hoping we could streamline the process in a legal, efficient way. Crazy, I know. :(
     
  4. refusetostop

    refusetostop New Member

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    NOT LEGAL ADVICE JUST ADVICE



    If the dog enters your yard by digging under the fence your neighbor can be cited for not following most leash laws (if the dog gets out of the fenced yard, or off a chain, or leash they are in violation). So, the next time the dog is in the yard do not tell your neighbor and do not take the dog back to your neighbor's yard. Call the police and animal control at this time. Inform the police that the dog has killed another dog in your yard on a different occasion and you do not feel safe and need it removed (the police may tell you to call animal control but insist that they respond until animal control arrives). If you keep doing this animal control will be forced to do something (because the police will be upset if they have to keep coming out).
     
  5. NYClex

    NYClex New Member

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    that sounds like a very good idea.

    A legal cause of action against the neighbors could be nuisance which is the infringement of the right to enjoy one's property. Depending on the circumstances there also might be a case for negligence or even for strict liaility because of keeping a dangerous animal. But as I said, you want to get protection first, if the animal is able to dig under the fence, you should contemplate putting the fence deeper into the ground or even erecting a wall.
     
  6. muse

    muse Law Topic Starter New Member

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    If I put a block wall in... can I require the neighbor to pay half, since the reason the wall is necessary is to keep his dog out of my yard?
     
  7. NYClex

    NYClex New Member

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    this is tricky. You surely can ask him. But if he refuses you would have to bring legal action which would be time and nerve consuming, possibly expensive and the outcome would not be guaranteed. Or in shorter words: I doubt it.

    So I would try to negotiate it with him, showing that this might be a way he can keep his dog and you both would be safe from future possible damage.
     
  8. muse

    muse Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks, NYClex, I appreciate your perspective.
     
  9. tamhall

    tamhall New Member

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    I had a pitbull kill my cat on my front porch (she had 5 babies in the house and was nursing). The dog was taken away and euthanized. Usually, once a pit taste blood it gets vicious after that. Check with Animal control. Once a dog has viciously killed another animal they are suppose to put it down. DO NOT LET YOUR KIDS IN THE YARD IF THE PIT CAN GET IN YOUR FENCE! Unfortunately, this is a war that will not go away unless someone does something about it. My advice is to try to reason with the neighbor. Sounds like they are resonable, but ......... You will be haunted by the "If only I had of".....should something happen to your family. Go to your local courthouse and ask what the law is about a vicious dog that has killed another animal and act based on the local laws. I don't want to brand Pits, but basically it is vicious because it has killed another dog. Protecting your property is your right! Remember, with these breeds, if you respond viciously, they react viciously. My advice is to move.

    PS. I am NOT a Lawyer but one speaking from experience.
     

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