Lucy bit a kid- Lawsuit pending?!

  • So, I have Lucy, my Basenji mix and then there's Bart, my Husky mix. Well, Bart and Lucy go out in the yard on 30 foot leads to go to the bathroom. They're always supervised, and they're only out to go potty. There are a TON of neighborhood dogs and kids that come running into our yard. We always grab the dogs, have them sit and attempt to explain to the kids that you have to come at the dogs calmly and let them sniff you first. The kids don't seem to get it (or don't understand since they speak mostly Spanish) and continually run into my yard. If we don't grab the dogs, we tell them to sit or tell them to come in, and tell the kids to go away.

    Well, today- the kids come running into the yard, flailing and screaming, and Lucy starts growling and her hair goes up. Rather than back off, one of the kids comes straight at Lucy. She jumps on him and nips him. I don't think it's bad at all, a small scratch, but the parents see it differently. The parents a screaming that they're going to sue me, and have carted the kid off to the hospital. So now I've talked to the cops, who confirm that the people will probably sue and it's all my fault. And I sit here and wait for them to get back and land me with the bill for the hospital visit and then land me with a lawsuit.

    It pisses me off that it is turning out like this and I can't defend myself at all. I had to vent and get that out.

  • Doesn't it mean anything that the kids came into your yard? If your dogs were leashed and in your yard, why is it your fault? I hope the child is Ok but I can't understand how they can sue you?

  • In Oregon, you need a No Trespassing sign up around your yard.
    If a person or another dog comes into your yard and is bit, you can state that your dog was in fear and bit to save its life.

    If a Beware of Dog sign is put up, it basically states I have a vicious dog and you can be held liable for whatever your dog does to another person or animal.

    Check with animal control on the ordinances. I know in Oregon, it is not your issues if the people coming in your yard are children (as their parents would then be held responsible for them) or can't read the english sign.

    Good luck…I suggest finding an attorney that is well-versed in Animal Law.... a letter from the attorney may make it all go away very quick.

  • I agree with Kathy, you will need to consult someone familiar with the laws in your area. The child came onto your property, if you asked them to leave and they remained on your property and attempted to touch or molest your dogs, you may have the law on your side. It will probably not stop the parents from suing you but it means that with proper representation they should not win their case.

  • The problem is that I live in a trailer park- I own my trailer, but I don't own the land it sits on. So technically it wasn't "my" yard since I don't own it. The cop said that even if the kid was in my house, unless the dog is on a 6ft or smaller leash, I am at fault. I think it's crap, and I'm looking up all the laws to see if I can figure something out.

    I'm thinking that if they do decide to sue, that I can come back with something about child endangerment or something. The kid that was bit is no older than 5, and is always running around on his own. Before he came in my yard, he was jumping up and down in a tree, breaking branches off.

  • Good Luck….I have kids and a dog and I think it's crap. I teach my children to ask before they approach any dog. The parents should be at fault not you, but what do I know We aren't "the law".

  • I would contact a lawyer, if possible one that specializes in animal issues. You can look into your local regulations yourself, the cop you spoke to may have a different interpretation of the regulation than what is specifically written.

  • A dog from one of my first litters years and years ago - had an outdoor kennel run in the fenced back yard - the neighbor boy had poked at him with sticks. the neighbor boy also climbed the fence and ransacked their garden throwing tomatoes etc. They never reported these incidents wanting to be good neighbors - just talked to the parents.

    The dog was chained to the back door - on a deck, that had a locked gate (they had a hot tub on the deck so locked gate) This same kid climbed the fence, came up to the deck - climbed over the locked gate and got bit by the dog. Guess whose fault it was? Yup the dog.

    They say that if they had reported the trespass events earlier - it might have helped. This was a 10 year old boy.

    I would call child protection on the family but after the fact is not likely to do much good.

    Seems like common sense is gone.

  • That is just ridiculous. There seems to be no consequences for stupid people these days. Where have all logical laws gone? Why can people be idiots and then blame it on you?? This makes me so mad. Don't even get me started on bad parenting!! I think there should be required screenings before PEOPLE should be allowed to breed!

  • Yep, I agree. The world would be a better place if people were bread like dogs– keeping the good qualities and weeding out the bad!

  • Once I showed a neighbor my "years of the American Basenji" books as I was researching a pedigree (long before online info) Her comment was - geez could we have that for husbands - with a list of things like - does windows etc.

    I work in the schools and I have to say the parents that I see that are off the charts are so far off the charts that they should have not reproduced. They far overshadow the majority that are good and responsible. There just seems to be a sense of entitlement that I don't remember when I was a child.

    "I'm entitled to whatever I want - and I can do what I want - there should be no consequences but someone better save me if I screw up."

  • DMCarty- You nailed it! That sense of entitlement is out of control!! I got my masters in education and I couldn't stand to be in the school systems. So sad!

  • I see both sides. My son got bit by a dog in another yard a couple years ago. I admitted his fault but the owners flat out would not accept any responsibility. It is a two way street. The kid is at fault for coming in your yard but you are at fault for not having your dog contained and easy access to children. If you offer to pay for the hospital bill that, in my mind, should be enough. Sue happy people are ridiculous. They hopefully will back down. You will have to keep your dog on a much tighter leash from now on though. If she does sue, I would think it would help to show you have made changes to keep this from happening again.

  • Several years ago we were in Corpus Christi, TX visitng my in-laws. We had the dog (non-b) in the house. My husband's 8 year old nephew came running aroung the corner into the kitchen, ran right up to the dog and spit in his face at very close range. My dog barked and when he closed his mouth he nipped the kid on the lip. The dog was on an extremely short leash. Thankfully there were many people, including the 25 year old brother of the kid, who witnessed the event. They all gave the same story. Well, the kid needed two stitches. We offered to pay, were told no. We called our insurance company (USAA), just in case and were told that it was the dog's/our fault, even if the kid had been beating the dog with a lead pipe, it was the dog's/our fault and the parents had FIVE YEARS to file a claim in Texas!!!!! Call your insurance company and see if you have any protection through them.

  • My son who will be 30 in April - crawled in the neighbor dogs - dog house - when the dog was in it. He got nipped, I asked him - "What do you know now about dogs in their houses?" He said , "Leave them alone." I told him - good you learned something then. I did make sure with owners that the dog had his shots but that was fine.

    My older son however was bit by the neighborhood beagle for no apparant reasons - I could have demanded that they put the dog down for a rabies test as they couldn't come up with proof of vacine - The compromise was they would quarantine the dog - that lasted 4 days and he was back wandering around - the police told them that I was very reasonable and if they didn't keep the dog confined that he would have no choice but to take it in and put it down to run the rabies test.

    And as many of you know - I also just went through this with Foxy and Cami who got loose and picked a fight with a Westie.

  • @dash:

    I see both sides. My son got bit by a dog in another yard a couple years ago. I admitted his fault but the owners flat out would not accept any responsibility. It is a two way street. The kid is at fault for coming in your yard but you are at fault for not having your dog contained and easy access to children. If you offer to pay for the hospital bill that, in my mind, should be enough. Sue happy people are ridiculous. They hopefully will back down. You will have to keep your dog on a much tighter leash from now on though. If she does sue, I would think it would help to show you have made changes to keep this from happening again.

    We used to live in a mobile home park and we had a doberman. Typically you rent the lot the mobile is on, not just the space the mobile takes up. We put up a fence around our lot. It wasn't a big yard, but big enough for the dog to go potty in, and the fence kept our the neighborhood kids/dogs/cats, etc.
    Can't you do that, rather then tether them where they are still accessible?

  • We're not allowed to put up fences. So we have the dogs on the leads, and we're out there with them. Like I could have stepped 2 feet and grabbed the leash the dog was on. They're not just running loose. When the father of the kid came over, he seemed content that it was his kid's fault when he found out the leads only go to the end of my yard. The mom was the one who was in hysterics and called the cops and then drug the kid to the hospital. I'm willing to pay the hospital bill (even though I feel that the kid didn't need to go to the hospital), but I don't want it to go any further. If they try to sue me for my dog, I'll get them for not having their kids supervised. I have neighbors willing to testify that these kids run around without a parent in sight, and I have video of it. These kids come in my yard, on my deck, they've even come in my house. And the oldest is like 11. I don't want to be penalized for them not paying attention to their kids, but I'm willing to apologize and meet half way. They haven't even spoken to me since this happened, even though I've made attempts to talk to them. I'm praying that it just all blows over.

  • Well, that's a stupid rule, IMO. You know the old adage, "Good fences make good neighbors" is really appropriate here. Sooooooooo many problems can be avoided by simply allowing a fence, kwim?

    I suppose you have the father's original reaction to use in your defense, although he'll most likely deny it.
    You said it was a minor bite – was there even any blood drawn?

    I feel your pain, though. It's an awful feeling. Jazzy's bitten a kid twice -- once the girl I babysit, and one a friend's son. Both parents were VERY cool and understood that, in both cases, the kids were REALLY annoying the dog even though she'd given clear signals and the kids had been warned by adults.
    We were very lucky -- very lucky. I've never before owned a dog that was "THAT dog", and it's very unnerving to me.

    Of course, I'm sure your initial feeling of "Oh crap, my dog just bit a kid" was quickly cured by the crazy Mama and left you wishing she'd bitten the Mama instead.

    Prayin' with you that it blows over and that the parents get a clue.

  • The breeder (and my first mentors) had some kids over to play (with the parents approval) with puppies… and you know how sharp those little baby teeth are... well one of the pups jump up and put a tooth through this kids ear lobe... (instant piercing..NOT).... animal control was called... mother had a fit... said would sue... Almost they took the pup until they were told the age and that he/she was still nursing and produced the rabies proof for the Mom... it was really a mess... and had the parents decided to go through with the suit, they most likely would have won.....

  • It was very minor, no blood. But it's one of those that swell up and will still probably scab even though it's not bleeding.

    The other kids that were around tried to say the dogs were running loose, and had come into THEIR yard. They even said that story with the parents standing there when they came to yell at me. I was outside the whole time! They were not running loose, and I showed the dad the tie-out and he seemed content with that.

    The kids couldn't keep the story straight of which dog nipped the kid.

    The dad first excused us of not looking after his child when it happened. When it happened, I grabbed the dogs leads, wrapped them around another stake we have out there so they could barely move and went over to the kid. I repeatedly asked him if he was okay, the only response I got was muttered Spanish and screaming. Then the kid ran over to the house. I went to put the dogs inside, then I was going to go over there when the parents came to my house and started pounding on my door and yelling at me.

    When the cops showed up. (The mom called them.) The cops wanted to know if Lucy was vicious. They wanted to see her outside of her kennel without a leash on. She sat, she laid down, she shook each of the officers hands and then she sat in their laps and hugged them, then gave them kisses. They were like- this is NOT a vicious dog. I explained to them that Lucy is a rescue, and that dogs from shelters usually WILL nip if spooked. They lived in a world where the thing scaring you was either going to kill you or take your food, so they react instinctively. The cops seemed okay with that. They loved Lucy. But they still said that the people could sue if they wanted to, and they might since there was no way to talk sense into the mom.

    The only issue I had with the cops is when the first cop saw her, he was like "That's a PitBull." All the paperwork I have on her, which I showed him, has her listed as a Corgi mix (from the shelter she came from) or a Basenji mix (from all the vets she's been to.) Yeah, a TON of people think she's a Pit mix, but none of my paperwork says anything about PitBull and I'm going to leave it at that. I had to spell "Basenji" like 8 times to him, and had to get on the AKC's site and show him that it WAS a breed, and that's what she was. The funny thing was that when his partner got back from talking to the other people, she looked at Lucy and was like "Oh my god! A Basenji! Do you yodel? My baby yodels." She has a tri and had never seen a red and white in person. It was awesome.

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