If my dog bites another dog, what is my liability?
This can be a pretty emotional scenario. The owner of the dog getting bit may be upset,and rightly so, since dog bites inflicted on another dog can be very traumatic and even cause death if left untreated. The owner may even accuse you of owning a vicious dog (in which case, you need to be very informed of your community’s policy on Breed Specific Legislation.)
You should try to be as apologetic as possible. On the other hand, you encounter another dog owner who will not make a big deal of the bite and knows that accidents happen. Always provide your name and be ready to demonstrate that your dog is up to date on vaccinations, especially against rabies.
For the best chance of a full recovery from the dog bite, a thorough examination should be carried out, and treatment should begin as soon as possible. The likelihood of infection from even a single dog bite wound is significant. At minimum, being a responsible dog owner and paying the veterinarian’s bill is a must.
Also consider that the victim of the bite may not only sustain physical injuries but emotional scars as well. The dog may become fearful of other dogs and the owner may become tense every time another dog approaches. Check if your home owner’s insurance covers any bites caused by your dog to third parties.
If it’s not covered, it comes out of your pocket, because refusing to pay the vet bill may cause the owner to seek legal action in a small claims court.
As for any other liability, that depends on your state. There are also factors such as:
• Where was the attack, your property or theirs?
• Was your dog restrained?
• Was your dog provoked?
• What are the dogs’ breeds?
• Has there been prior indication of aggression?
• Is your state a “strict liability” one, partial liability or one of the few remaining “one bite” states?