Our dog might have killed a neighbor's dog. What should we do? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-01-2017, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Our dog might have killed a neighbor's dog. What should we do?

I'm hoping you guys can help me figure out what we should do to resolve this appropriately and responsibly. Here's what happened as we know it:

The gate to our house was left unlatched. Our dogs, 2 huskies, were in the backyard for an hour or longer before they must've discovered the gate was open. After 30 minutes or so later, I realized they were not at the window watching us like they usually are. I went outside looking all over for them in the backyard and determined they were gone. One of my kids had re-latched the gate before I figured out the dogs had gone through it earlier. I instantly went looking for them, thinking they'll get run over or shot or stolen. I only had to go 3 houses down the street when I met some neighbors (we just moved here in May so I don't know any neighbors around here yet) who had my dogs leashed in their backyard. They told me that my dogs attacked a dog across the street and that dog's owners rushed it to the emergency vet.

My dogs have never escaped before and have never hurt another dog (though they've been attacked by many dogs of all sizes), and I've had them for 10 years now. We determined that my visiting Mother left the gate unlatched on accident, but that's not necessarily important. No one witnessed anything of the actual attack. I didn't know my dogs were loose. The other dog, a 4-lb teacup Chihuahua, was let out in its front yard off leash in the dark. The owner said she usually always goes out with it while it goes to the bathroom, but this time it was raining, so she went back inside to put shoes on while the dog was out front by itself. She told the animal control deputy that it took her about 3.5 minutes to get her shoes on. No one knows where the attack happened or who attacked who. I don't know which neighbors got to her dog first or who grabbed my dogs and leashed them. The deputy didn't seem to know either, and didn't seem to care.

The deputy wrote a report stating the both parties were to blame as neither of us had control over our dogs, and there was no proof that the attack happened on the other dog owner's property. The little Chihuahua was paralyzed and the owners decided to put it down. They had to drive an hour to the emergency vet. The deputy told me that I should offer to pay some (half or maybe more) of the vet bills, which I already knew to do, and am willing to do.

Here is my dilemma: the owners of the Chihuahua seem to want more and I'm not sure what to do. They are hinting that I should pay for some or all of their expenses to drive to the emergency vet. They are also telling me the dog cost them $1,000 to buy and keep reiterating that it was a "rare purebred dog" and difficult to find another one to purchase. They've told me that they plan on buying another one soon, but need the money from me to do so. I think they want me to pay half or all of the cost of their previous dog ($1,000), plus vet bills ($350) and driving expenses ($unknown amount).

I'm not sure how much is enough to pay, as I don't know who attacked who, and I don't know where the attack happened. I'm not sure what other factors should be considered. The deputy only mentioned helping to pay for vet bills. She did not mention a recommendation to pay for the original cost of the dog. She also didn't include driving expenses, but I can see how that could be added to the "vet expenses" overall total. I don't want to assume the deputy is an expert in this area just because she happens to be Animal Control, so I thought I'd reach out to you guys as I'm a previous member of this forum. I know I can trust you guys and will get many solid replies based off your previous experiences with this sort of thing. I've never had to deal with something like this and never thought it could or would happen under my watch.

Last edited by Cassidy's Mom; 10-02-2017 at 12:45 PM. Reason: Changed thread title per OP's request
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-02-2017, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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Some details that I remembered after I posted the original message:

1. Our dogs are up-to-date on rabies. I'm not sure about her dog. I haven't asked, as I feel terrible over what happened and feel very guilty that my dog would ever kill another dog. She hasn't asked me, nor has the police animal control deputy.

2. In the original post I left out any emotion and wanted to stick to the facts. But here I want to state how upset I am over this. I know this incident happened to be with a very little dog, but what if it had been a dog that killed my husky instead of the other way around? He could've been killed just as easily by the right dog. I am not totally sure how I would feel if it happened that way, but I know I'd be mad at the other dog and dog owner, regardless of where the fight occurred. However, I would blame myself more than I'd blame the other dog/owner, as I let my dog out in the front yard off leash and wasn't watching as he was killed in this hypothetical scenario. I guess I'm lucky it didn't happen that way, but I would never allow my dogs to harm another dog if I had control over the situation. I really felt that I've been a good enough dog owner to the point that something like this situation would NEVER happen in my lifetime. What a rude awakening.

3. I mentioned before that we now have the gate they escaped out of triple-locked/latched. We nicknamed it Fort Knox, as it is even too difficult for us humans to desire to use anymore. We go the long way around the house into the carport because we don't want to deal with that gate. Nothing will escape through it ever again as long as we live here.

4. Another item to note is that both huskies escaped. One has prey drive, the other doesn't. Because there were no witnesses, I've been assuming that our dog with prey drive is probably the dog that killed the little dog. But no one really knows. This could've all been an accident. The owner of the Chihuahua stopped by yesterday for the first time to talk it over. She mentioned that she felt my dogs thought her dog might've been a toy and not another dog, and bit/grabbed it a little too hard which paralyzed it. I mentioned before that my prey-drive husky has been aggressively attacked by many little dogs, but he's never harmed them. Only once did he pick up a dog and throw it, and it landed in the grass and ran back under its backyard fence that it appeared from. We also have cats, and while he's chased them and roughed them up on occasion, he's never killed any of them. We don't let him around the cats because of his prey drive, but accidents have happened. It's probably been 7-8 years since there's been any incident between him and a cat or other dog.

As I remember more details, I'll write them in later.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-02-2017, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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I don't think I added this, but the owner of the little dog came over yesterday along with her landlord. I guess the landlord is another neighbor who owns some properties around the area of this incident. Again, no one has said exactly where this incident happened. I assumed the landlord came with her a friend and because she was coming down to a stranger's home (my house) and didn't want to come alone. My Mother used to be a secretary for lawyers, and when I told her how it unfolded, she explained what I was also already thinking about why she would choose her landlord to come with her instead of her husband. Her husband had stopped by earlier in the week to talk, and I guess the dog was their dog but more the wife's dog, so he told me she would stop down after her period of mourning and grieving had ended. We're thinking that she is getting her landlord involved as to say that the attack didn't happen on her own rented yard, but it happened somewhere on the land owned by the landlord. This is all guessing though, as there were no witnesses to the exact location of the attack (and who started it). They have been nice so far and aren't threatening to sue or anything crazy, but the police said we are equally to blame, so not sure what is the right thing to do. I don't want to take advantage of her, nor do I want to be taken advantage of when it comes to figuring out a total payment to pay out.

One thing I'm going to do is stop by the animal control department and see if I can get a copy of the deputy's report today. I'd like to know what exactly is on it and not on it. I also want to call this woman's vet and see if they'll tell me exactly what they know. Were there puncture marks? Broken bones. Maybe one of my dogs didn't see the other dog and accidentally stepped on it? There might not have even been a dog attack/fight. I'm not sure. We are 3 houses down across the road, and all of our windows were open. We didn't hear a thing. The little dog owner also said there was no barking or whining or squealing. Not a sound. This is all so weird and so terrible to have happened.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-02-2017, 11:41 AM
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I would probably just pay the 1350. I would be worried that they would take you to court and both of your dogs could be seized and put down.



Maybe ask if you can pay all of the vet bills and half of the dog?
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-02-2017, 11:49 AM
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The thing to do is not put details on the Internet that can be used against you and call a lawyer. And since you are asmiting that your dog's harmed the other, pay the bill and make it right.




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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-02-2017, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by konathegsd View Post
I would probably just pay the 1350. I would be worried that they would take you to court and both of your dogs could be seized and put down.



Maybe ask if you can pay all of the vet bills and half of the dog?
They've both been nice so far. Before I was able to make contact with them, the deputy told me that she had talked to the woman and was told there was no animosity towards me over this incident. It sounded like the other woman feels just as bad as I do, and blames herself like I blame myself. When she was here yesterday, she kept repeating that this is a neighborhood of love and they want to keep it that way, and made sure she included me in her message. They don't seem to have a lot of money, and neither do we. That's what makes this so tricky. I'm recently retired and living off a small pension check (to support a big family) while going to college full-time and am unemployed so I can focus on my studies to get my degree and land a job at that point. The timing of this is horrible, granted it should NEVER have happened in the first place.

Why do you think they'd seize my dogs and put them down? This is a first time incident for both of them. No one knows exactly which dog killed her dog. Her dog might've attacked my dogs and my dogs were a little too rough in self-defense. We don't know. The police deputy already made it clear that around here we don't just seize dogs and put them down. She said that she has no record of previous incidents on my dogs in her database. One is because we just moved here, two is because they have NEVER hurt another dog before NOR have they ever escaped our yard. They've been the victims of attack and defended themselves while on leashed walks, but have never been the aggressor because I've always been right there to keep them away from other dogs. I don't allow meet and greets and do my best to keep off-leash out-of-control dogs away from them. I would hope this would never come to what you're talking about. I can only hope this gets worked out in a way that is fair to both parties involved.

Thanks for the reply!
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-02-2017, 11:58 AM
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If you pay, it will be an admission of guilt which can haunt you. Ethically it might be a good gesture but legally maybe not so. There is no proof unless your dogs have the Chi's DNA in their mouths. I wold talk to a lawyer before you do anything especially since they might sue you. I would stay one step ahead of the "game"
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-02-2017, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
The thing to do is not put details on the Internet that can be used against you and call a lawyer. And since you are asmiting that your dog's harmed the other, pay the bill and make it right.
Good point. Which bill were you referring to? Vet? Cost of her dog? Travel expenses? All of the above?
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-02-2017, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wolfy dog View Post
If you pay, it will be an admission of guilt which can haunt you. Ethically it might be a good gesture but legally maybe not so. There is no proof unless your dogs have the Chi's DNA in their mouths. I wold talk to a lawyer before you do anything especially since they might sue you. I would stay one step ahead of the "game"
You make a good point. My dogs might be getting blamed just because they escaped around the same time this dog was attacked. We have plenty of loose dogs roaming the neighborhood daily. We also have coyotes and bears here. Plus, there are about 10 outdoor cats per street in this neighborhood, and ALL of them are bigger than a 4-lb Chihuahua. I wonder if my dogs were being blamed just because people saw them running around the same time this woman found her injured dog, and jumped to conclusions that it had to have been my dogs that did it? You're right, what if they never had anything to do with it. I never thought about it that way, because everyone down the street that helped leash my dogs and call the police were the ones who said my dogs attacked her dog, yet no one actually had details about the attack. Maybe everyone is making assumptions, to include me.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-02-2017, 12:40 PM
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I think talking to a lawyer would be a good idea
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