Neighbors Off Leash Dog Attacks And Injures My Dog, Sister, And Myself. Now She’s Trying To Sue Me. We are The Ones With 29k In Medical Bills.

Our new neighbors moved in next door about 6 months ago and have two large Labradors who are let out the back door into the open yards each day and night.

One of their dogs is very sweet and well behaved while the other is rather aggressive and will charge at people and other dogs.

We have asked them multiple times to walk their dogs on leashes and explained about the city leash laws of our state and county but they refuse to keep them on leashes.

Two months ago, one of their labs charged at myself and my small beagle from across the yard and the dogs owner just sat there and watched as I tried to fight off her dog while picking up my beagle. The dog bit my arm enough to draw blood and I kicked her dog to get it to stop and back off from its attack.

The owner went into a rage over me kicking her dog and the next day filed a complaint against me with our HOA. That backfired because the HOA contacted me for my side of the story and ended up charging the neighbor a $250 violation of HOA agreement fee. I didn’t file an animal control report because my bite wasn’t that bad and I thought the HOA fine would set them straight. Also for the fact that it’s not the dogs fault her owner is an idiot.

They continued to let their dogs run free and we have multiple videos of them letting their dogs run free and of the aggressive dog running onto our porch and throwing her body against our glass door trying to get at our dogs inside our house.

Last month I confronted our neighbor with the multiple videos and told her she needed to walk them on leashes and we were no longer willing to be afraid to use our back porch or walk our dogs anymore and told her this was the last time we’d be nicely asking her and next time we’d call animal control.

Fast forward to 6 days ago when I woke up to the sound of one of my dogs for lack of better term, screaming. I jumped out of bed and ran into the yard where my sister and one of my beagles was being attacked by her dog. My sister had curled around our dog and was being repeatedly bitten by the neighbors dog.

I tackled the neighbors dog and (not proud to say as a life long animal lover) proceed to grab the dog by her neck and force her to the ground by her neck and shove her head into the ground while practically sitting on the dog to control her.

The neighbor finally got her dog inside. The results were my dog had a huge chunk ripped out of her throat, multiple rips in both ears, 6 broken teeth on her bottom jaw, a shattered front paw and broken arm, and multiple bites to her face and rib cage. My dog needed all broken teeth removed, pins in her arm and paw, dozens of stitches, and a skin graph (had no idea they could do this for dogs) to close the hole in her neck.

My sister needed 38 stitches from the bites she received, I ended up with 29 stitches from bites I received, and all three of us are on a plethora of antibiotics and follow up care including rabies shots for my sister and I because her dog had no current shots. Those shots are not pleasant in any way.

Our combined medical/vet bills are 29k with still needing follow up visits for all of us over the next few months.

She’s refusing to pay anything at all and claims she’s not at fault because our yard isn’t fenced. She’s also claiming she’s going to sue us because apparently I broke 2 of her dogs ribs when I tackled her to the ground.

I cleared out my savings account of 3500 to make the basic payments to save my dogs life and don’t have any more money to hire a lawyer.

We can hardly afford the co pays on our insurance to get our rabies treatments and prescriptions filled. I filed to get an advance on my pay but it can take up to two weeks to go through and I was served with a court summons today for injuries to her dog and her pain and suffering from the trauma of her hurt pet. The claim also states that I intentional caused harm to her pet and used unnecessary force to subdue her pet. I’m a 4’10 female and my sister is a 4′ 8 female. Her dog is almost as big as I am.

I really don’t know where to start on how to deal with this. I feel like we have a solid case due to the videos and and the paperwork from the HOA for the first time she tried to blame us. I also have messages that span her time as our neighbor via the Nextdoor app where she admits to walking her pets off leash and her refusal to stop because it’s “her house.”

How in the world can I fight this without being able to pay a lawyers fee upfront?

Citation: Reddit

Neighbors off leash dog attacks and injures my dog, sister, and myself. Now she’s trying to sue me she were the ones with 29k in medical bills. NC USA

by u/freerunlady92 in legaladvice

“I would without question sue the dog owner in this situation. Most, if not all, lawyers that work on dog bite cases do not get paid up front. I work on contingency meaning I don’t get paid until there is a recovery for my client. And if no recovery, no fee. Sometimes this means years of work before a fee is paid. But in this scenario I see multiple instances of negligence and insurance companies are usually smart to resolve dog bite cases with bad owners sooner rather than later.”

-Brian Dettman

Helpful Tips:

1. Document Everything: Keep a record of all interactions with your neighbor, including any messages, emails, or other forms of communication. This includes the videos you mentioned, as well as any medical or veterinary bills. 

2. Contingency Fee Basis: Look for an attorney who will work on a contingency fee basis. This means they only get paid if they win your case, typically taking a percentage (often around 33-40%) of the settlement or verdict.

3. Small Claims Court: If the amount you’re seeking is within the limit for small claims court in your state, you might consider filing a lawsuit there. Small claims court is designed to be more accessible to individuals, and you often don’t need a lawyer to represent you.  I would not do this based on the value of the above case.

4. Consultation: Many lawyers offer free or low-cost initial consultations. This could be a good opportunity to understand your legal options and potential costs.

5. Pro Bono Services: Some lawyers offer pro bono (free) services to those who can’t afford them. You can reach out to local law firms or your state’s bar association to find out about pro bono services.  However, for a dog bite case it is rare to find a pro bono lawyer.   A contingency lawyer is your best bet in my opinion. 

6. Legal Insurance: If you have legal insurance through your employer or another source, now would be the time to use it.

7. Animal Control and Police Reports: If you haven’t already, report the incidents to your local animal control and police department. These reports can serve as additional evidence in your case.

8. Homeowner’s Insurance: Check your homeowner’s insurance policy. It may cover some of the costs related to this incident, including legal fees.

9. Engage a Lawyer: Consider hiring a lawyer who can guide you through the legal process. They can help you file a counterclaim against your neighbor for the damages you and your dog have suffered.

10. Homeowner’s Insurance: If your neighbors own their home, their homeowner’s insurance may cover the damages. An attorney can help you navigate this process.

11.  Legal Aid: If you cannot secure a contingency-based lawyer, look for legal aid organizations in your area. These organizations provide free or low-cost legal services to those who cannot afford them. They can help you understand your rights and navigate the legal process.

12. Account for All Damages: Make sure to account for all damages and inconveniences you’ve suffered. This includes lost work time, medical appointments, fees, and any other related costs. Don’t feel guilty about claiming these – your neighbor had ample opportunities to prevent this situation from escalating.

Remember, it’s crucial to seek legal advice from a professional who can understand the specifics of your situation and provide guidance based on your local laws and regulations.

Every case is different and this information may not apply to your case.  Consultations at Dettman Law are always free and we don’t get paid until there is a recovery.


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