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      OT APPROVED, 365MC637, FAROOQ, EVRi, 12.07.23 (BRENT) - J v4.pdf
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Dog on lead bit another dog not on a lead

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My wife took our Labrador out for a walk on the beach. He was on his lead. Another dog came towards my wife, and because my wife was walking on seaweed she slipped when he pulled. She did not let go of the lead. The two dogs had a coming together, which resulted in the other dog getting bitten. The owner has now present me with a bill. While I agree that my dog was the cause of the injury, he was at all time on the end of short lead (3 foot long) which my wife still had hold of, whilst the other dog was running free. Why should I be responsible for the other owner not having his dog under control?

How do I respond to his bill?

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If your dog bit the other, it makes no odds that it was on a lead. Under control means on a leash and muzzled.



What injuries did the other dog sustain? Is there any proof?

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The proof is only the vets bill. If one takes your version of Under control as being on a lead and muzzled, why do the police or dog wardens not take action against every dog owner who fails to muzzle their dog? And why is a dog on a lead not considered more 'under control' than one running free?

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If a dog bites another dog , then by definition it was not under control. Im a dog owner myself and the only reason I don't use a muzzle is because my collie is only a year old and was brought up both before and after I rescued it, around kids and plenty of other dogs so he knows how to behave.


The bad part about your predicament is that because your dog did bite another then it would be considered 'not under the owners control'.


Imagine if your dog had bitten a person, you could be looking at losing your dog.



Can I ask a question?


What was the other dog doing to cause your dog to attack? Im thinking you could use mitigating circumstances and come to a compromise.

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..



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Check on the local legislation and whether the dog should have been on a lead. If so, tell the other owner to take a hike. Your dog was under control and the other dog was not and probably was the instigator. If the other dog had been on a lead, the incident would not have happened.

If it was our dog which was on a lead regardless or not whether there is legislation there is no ways we would pay because as far as we are concerned our dog was under control and defending itself.

If it was a human and the human got bitten, then the human would be at fault as they should not have approached a strange dog without the owner's permission and tried to pet it or similar!

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The other dog came to sniff bits, I suspect, but as my wife was on the ground, having slipped on wet seaweed, possibly our dog went into protection mode.


Having spoken to the local police dog handler, his view was, 'Your dog on lead, other dog loose, responsibility for control lies with other dog owner, therefore they will be very lucky to get judgement in Small claims court.'


Happy to compromise, I pays for cleaning wifes clothes because of smelly seaweed, and compensation for loss of dignity, and he pays his own vets bill, and puts his dog on a lead if it will not obey his commands!

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Ahh gotcha brian. The problem you will have now is actually proving it. It doesnt matter what the police officer thinks, in court it is the evidence that is presented before the judge. I would suggest some kind of mediation and see how that goes. If you are willing to try mediation ( means you accept partial fault, but not complete and still want to find a favourable outcome) then courts look more favourably on it as it is achieved without a CCJ etc.


Can i ask what type of dogs were involved?

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..



If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks


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problem is the animals act of 1971 is a bit vague as to what is "damage" and forseeable. The damage in that legislation is for dogs biting humans, not other dogs and that seems to recognise that dogs do bite so it is down to what is forseeable. Is the breed of the dog classified as dangerous? does the dog have a history of biting? Is the use of a lead properly "restraint"? Now, the last bit is really the nub of the matter as it can be argued that any action that allows a dog to bite anything is not proper restraint so the liklihood of a court deciding one way or the other is akin to tossing a coin.

A judge may well decide that dogs biting other dogs is outside the legislation so without previous history there is no case to answer or they may decide that you fall foul of the restraint bit that catches just about any situation if interpreted that way.

Do you have leagl cover on your house/pet insurance? Be worth checking out before taking a decision to pay or defend. Personally I would suggest that the owner of the bitten dog has the most to lose by going to court so perhaps an offer of 50% of the bill without accepting liability might end the matter.

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Was the other dog aggressive in anyway or just coming to say 'hello' ?

If your dog was defending itself then, then they should pay their own vets bill.

However IMHO if their was no aggression by the other dog and just being a dog, then you should pay, irrespective of any other circumstances.

If as you say your dogs behaviour was caused by your wife slipping over, then why should the other owner have to pay for that ( cause and effect ). just one of those things that happen.

I don't think any body will label your dog as aggressive because of this.

Agree with ericsb and maybe offer 50%.

Seen it all before a dog comes up to have a 'sniff' ( on or off the lead ) all ok for a few seconds then one has a go and bites the other! aggression! so the aggressor should pay.

Just because a dog is on a lead does not ensure control.

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