Your Dog and Your Liability


Recently, my youngest dog finally got so annoyed with local skateboarders riding by on the sidewalk that she started lunging, snarling, and barking at them whenever she saw them. When she first joined my pack, she didn’t seem to mind them, but now she is so startled by them, that she feels the need to protect herself and me when we walk. Perhaps it’s the speed in which they travel, the sound, the kids themselves, or maybe a combination of these things. Bicyclists are also something that she doesn’t like now. None of the reasons really matter because I am liable for whatever damage or injury my dogs make. I am very cautious now when I walk her and you should be cautious with your dogs also.

A friend told me that his client’s dog got loose one day and bounded up to a woman pushing her grandchild in a stroller. Even though the dog was friendly and just jumped up to greet the lady with a kiss, the woman fell backward, injured herself, and the owners had to sell their house to pay for the lawsuit judgment.

This is why it is so important to know your pet well enough and that you are ever vigilante to the possibilities of a biting incident. You are responsible for any injury or damage for which your dog is responsible.

If your male dog gets out and impregnates a female belonging to one of your neighbors, you are responsible. If the female happens to be a pedigree, your neighbor might start hearing a cash register ring. If your dog digs up the neighbor’s garden, destroys plants or other property, or injures another pet, it is going to come out of your wallet.

There are some precautions you can take:

Spay or neuter your pet. A male dog that is altered is less likely to roam when he smells a female in heat. Dogs that are fixed are responsible for far fewer biting incidents.

• Make sure that when you leave your house your gates are secured. Gardeners, delivery people, mail carriers, can often forget to close the gates when they walk through them either attending to their work or when they leave.

• Do you have a lock on your gates? Unlocked gates can allow people, especially children to enter your property.

• When you close your doors make sure your hear the click of a properly closed door so you know that the wind can’t blow it open, especially in bad weather.

• Do you have an attorney? Having one doesn’t get you off for your dog’s actions, but needing advice in a hurry is important. To save money, I have a pre-paid legal plan which allows me access to attorneys when needed. You can visit our sponsor’s site, for more information.

© Bruce Malter,