Dog fight over garden wall

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Dog fight over garden wall

Postby paulevans » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:23 pm

Our neighbours say that our dog has bitten their pup and that we should pay any vets' bills. We didn't see what happened, but they say that our dogs reached over the fence and wall between our gardens and dragged the pup into our garden and they had to jump over and rescue it. They have taken it to the vet and say it will probebly need stitches and/or an operation. I suggested that we pay half the cost (if there is any) but they want us to pay it all. They have another dog which is always having snarling and snapping matches with ours over the wall. It's a shame that the pup got hurt, but when dogs fight is one side more responsible than the other? I can see that the responsiblility would be more ours if our dogs had actually gone over into their garden, but they're not claiming that happened. So where do we stand?
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Re: Dog fight over garden wall

Postby Mojisola » Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:11 pm

Unless they have some way of proving that your dog inflicted the injuries, you don't need to do anything. Is what they're suggesting possible - how tall is the fence/wall, how big is your dog? It could have been their other dog that caused the injuries and they're trying to get out of paying for the vet.
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Re: Dog fight over garden wall

Postby despair » Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:56 pm

precisely ..........how high is the wall and exactly what breeds do either side own
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Re: Dog fight over garden wall

Postby paulevans » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:19 pm

Thanks for your replies, Mojisola and despair. It's a relief to know we shouldn't have to pay anything! I'm attaching a picture of the fence and wall as seen from our garden.

CIMG3737small.jpg
CIMG3737small.jpg (117.36 KiB) Viewed 3707 times


The wall is only about 33 inches tall. As you can see our dogs have long since pulled the green wire fence down on our side, but in ten years our dogs have never got out so we think they can't - or at least don't know they can! On the other side of the wall our neighbour has put up some boards to stop his dog from jumping on the wall, but he says our dog pushed them down. Our dogs are dalmatians, so they're pretty big, big enough to stand in our garden with their front paws on top of the wall. So I think it's just about possible, but it seems unlikely that our dog could've reached their pup over the fence and wall without going right over into their garden. And our neighbours claim they saw him do that.

I think the pup is a collie, and the other dog is a terrier of some kind. They may still have another (bigger) dog or two, but I haven't seen them for a while.

I'd be interested to hear what other members think about our responsibilities, legal or moral. I should also mention that our house in rented from a housing authority and we've always believed that they should be responsible for repairing the fence.

I see the neighbours' car has returned from the vet, but they haven't been to see us yet - fingers crossed!
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Re: Dog fight over garden wall

Postby katee » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:23 pm

Hello Paulevans,

Regardless of who's dog bit who, If it were my garden ,I would be fixing the green wire fence myself and possibly making it a little taller.

Yes, the Housing Assosiation may be responsible for the fence but ultimately YOU are responsible for your dogs actions.

Fix up the fence properly and give yourself peace of mind.
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Re: Dog fight over garden wall

Postby despair » Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:52 pm

Sorry but i do not conssider either the green wire or the strange trellis bits to be any kind of adequate fence to retain dogs

Both you and your neighbours own several dogs and its time you both sorted out a proper fence or wall

Expecting the housing association to do so is wrong ...........your dogs your responsibility

If anyone can afford to feed dogs and cover the costs of innoculations etc they can and should attend to secure fencing as a priority

and yes i used to own pedigreee dogs and even breed them too
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Re: Dog fight over garden wall

Postby Geometer » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:37 am

You alone are responsible for keeping your dogs on your land. I agree with despair, the fencing is wholly inadequate for retaining large dogs like Dalmatians. If your dogs tore it down, then you are responsible for repairing it, not the HA.

Your neighbours' version of events sounds plausible to me, but you'll have to decide for yourself whether to take their word for it.

There are clearly territorial issues between the two sets of dogs. One way of defusing the situation might be to take all the dogs for walks together, so they can bond as a "pack" and sort out their dominance issues on neutral territory.
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Re: Dog fight over garden wall

Postby jonahinoz » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:21 pm

If you were a house owner, I would suggest passing this claim onto your insurance company. Presumably as a HA tenant you don't have Public Liability insurance ..... unless such claims are covered under some other policy. Are your dogs insured, for instance? Are you in any "breed association"?

OT, but members of the British Horse Association have 3rd party insurance included in their membership, which is great unless you are the member ..... and your daughter said it was HER pony.
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Re: Dog fight over garden wall

Postby Sudynim » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:54 pm

paulevans wrote:Thanks for your replies, Mojisola and despair. It's a relief to know we shouldn't have to pay anything! I'm attaching a picture of the fence and wall as seen from our garden....

..... it seems unlikely that our dog could've reached their pup over the fence and wall without going right over into their garden. And our neighbours claim they saw him do that.


I wouldn't be so confident just yet. If the neighbours get a large bill and decide to sue you, the matter will be decided by a judge on the Balance of Probabilities (eg whichever version the judge finds more convincing).

Your neighbours are (I assume) ordinary decent people, and they will give evidence that they actually witnessed this happening. You will give evidence that you don't know if it happened or not, but it doesn't seem likely in your opinion. All things being equal, you would be very likely to lose.

Hopefully it will not come to that, but you should be aware of the risks.
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Re: Dog fight over garden wall

Postby jonahinoz » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:14 am

My neighbour's insignificant looking terrierX type dog, about 12" high at the shoulder, took it into his mind to attack a Pomeranian, in the street, but on a leash. The Pomeranian lost, finished up with an eye hanging out .... successfully replaced. I don't know who paid the vet's bill as the terrier owner was on benefits (but could afford a Jag and a stretch limo - at the same time).

Whatever, the terrier is now on the Dangerous Dogs Register. One more incident, and he is "out". In your situation, I would be trying very hard NOT to have my dog placed on the register. Money would be of secondary importance. If necessary, I would "eat crow".
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Re: Dog fight over garden wall

Postby kwhite » Sun Oct 30, 2011 6:26 pm

Problem you have is that it is their word against yours. They say it happened, but as you didn't witness it, you can't be sure.

Would they lie? They'd have to be real low-life to blame it on another persons dog.

Do either of the dogs (i.e. victim and accused!) have pet insurance?

Depending upon the injury the vets bills could add up - if your dog is responsible, then morally you should pay, at least some of it, but at the same time, if it wasn't your dog, then you shouldn't pay a penny.

No one here can give a definitive answer on that cos we don't know the people.

Regarding the fence, then I would say you should do something on your side to ensure it is enclosed. Would the neighbours possibly contribute to a wooden fence on top of the wall, as it would benefit both sides. Even if they won't, I'd do something so you can be sure this can't happen again (if it did in fact actually happen) and also, if you initiate the repairs, then it would show responsibility on your part. You can't wait for the HA to do it, cos in the mean time you could have more problems with the dogs/neighbours than its worth.

Edit: looking at the picture again, it looks like the wooden bits they erected are sandwiched between the wall and some bushes, along with some other wire fencing. It looks quite well blocked, so would it be possible for your dogs to actually have pushed them down?
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